DA seeking ’smooth transition’ in providing extension services

The Department of Agriculture (DA) wants to make sure that the provision of agriculture extension services in the province will continue amid the implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling, which may result in a lesser national budget for the farm sector.

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the DA will continue to work closely with the local government units (LGUs), state universities and colleges (SUC), the private sector, and farmers' and fisherfolk's organizations in the remaining months of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.

This is to ensure the smooth transition to the Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Systems (PAFES), and implementation of various initiatives under the government's "Plant, Plant, Plant" program.

“PAFES would serve as the modality of implementing banner programs in the provinces. Under the system, we at the national government will do the steering while the LGUs will do the rowing,” Dar said.

Agricultural extension and advisory services play a crucial role in boosting agricultural productivity and income, increasing food security, improving rural livelihood, and promoting agriculture as an engine of inclusive, pro-poor economic growth.

Through PAFES, Dar said that the DA will help boost the capabilities of provincial LGUs in implementing agri-fishery extension services and integrating multiple programs of the DA, with the provinces as the hub of operations.

“We have to understand that agriculture is local. Agriculture is provincial. Therefore, the LGUs are in a much better position in identifying and supplying these services that would bring more progress to the countryside, and make the country food-secure and resilient,” he added.

Further, he said, "we will continue to push for the transformation of Philippine agriculture into a modernized and industrialized sector”.

Starting January 2022, the DA, just like other government agencies, is expected to receive a lower budget amid the implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling, which ordered the national government to give LGUs a share of all national taxes, not only those collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

This Supreme Court ruling will increase the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of LGUs to P1.08 trillion.