(L-R) PCAF-VMS Chief Conchita del Rosario listens to one of the participants during the Luzon A Cluster AFC Orientation, while a participant from the Luzon B-Visayas Clusters asks question to DA-RFO VI Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Division Chief Mila Talabong as she presents Sec. Piñol’s 10-Point Agenda.

Months after the launch of the recruitment period of new members of the Agricultural and Fishery Council (AFC), the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) commenced the first and second leg of the island-wide orientations of the newly recruited AFC members.

A total of 29 new AFC members from regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A and Cordillera Autonomous Region, which composed the Luzon A Cluster, gathered on June 6 to 8 at the Philippine Rice Research Institute in Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija. It was immediately followed by another batch composed of 25 AFC members from regions 4-B, 5, 6, 7 and 8 or the Luzon B-Visayas Cluster, who came together at the Aklan State University in Banga, Aklan on June 14 to 16.

PCAF’s Partnership Development Division (PDD)-Volunteers Management Section Chief Conchita del Rosario presented the AFC Manual of Operations which contains their roles, responsibilities, limitations and benefits as new volunteer-partners of the Department of Agriculture (DA) from the countryside.

The orientation would ensure that all new members have a common and shared understanding on the department, the agency and the council.

In the two separate events, PCAF’s PDD Assistant Division Chief Soledad Bernardo emphasized to the new AFCs the importance of people participation and of being a servant leader.

The new AFC members were also familiarized on the programs and projects of the DA, its attached agencies and bureaus at the regional, provincial and municipal level.

One of their responsibilities stressed during the Luzon and Visayas orientations is the need to conduct meetings regularly. According to PDD, these meetings provide venue for discussion and resolutions of issues and concerns in the grassroots level.

“These meetings serve as consultations about the issues from your home provinces. As AFCs, you can formulate policy recommendations, resolutions through a council to address these issues and concerns,” said PDD-Social Mobilization Section Chief Floreliz Avellana during the Luzon A Cluster orientation.

Aside from the Luzon A and Luzon B-Visayas Clusters, the Mindanao Cluster which includes regions 9, 10, 11, 12, Caraga and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao will conduct their orientation in September. ###