Screenshot of AFC Data Management System.

For years, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries’ (PCAF), through the Monitoring and Evaluation Section (MES) and its national and local Agriculture and Fisheries Councils (AFCs), has been going around the country conducting fieldwork as part of the monitoring arm of the Department of Agriculture (DA) specifically engaged in the post-implementation monitoring of DA-funded programs and projects through participatory monitoring and tracking activities.

However, on the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, strict quarantine protocols were enforced to curb the spread of the virus. This also meant that fieldworks across different parts of the country were hampered due to travel restrictions imposed by the Philippine government. This impedes the movement, not only by PCAF employees, but also the AFCs at the local level and other key stakeholders.

One of the regular activities of AFCs is cross-monitoring where an AFC monitoring team of a province monitors DA-funded projects of other provinces within the region. However, travel restrictions made these activities difficult to conduct.

These challenges led to innovative ways of coping with the new normal. Regional-based coordinators shifted to other ways to achieve their targets and goals. Instead of cross posting scheme in monitoring DA Programs and projects, the AFCs monitored projects in their respective barangays and municipalities to limit movement and prevent spread and/or infection. 

Another struggle is on the consolidation and submission of reports from the municipal to the regional level.

Considering these, former PCAF CARAGA regional-based coordinator Klark Howel Lucion, created a user-friendly monitoring application that enables direct submission of reports from the field to the database. 

Armed with his knowledge in system and programming, Lucion, now a DA-Regional Field Office employee, created a system called “AFC Data Management System” or AFC DMS.

The system was intended for the use of regional-based coordinators and RAFC secretariat-coordinators. It can be accessed via web browser and/or by installing the application on mobile phones. The AFC DMS features include data analytics, generate reports, coordinates, mapping, ID issuance system, data analytics, profiling system, and even have communication and chat features.

“Users were able to easily adapt to using the system. During the initial rollout with CARAGA regional-based coordinators and RAFC secretariat-coordinators, we have received several feedbacks especially on the technicalities. However, I am constantly developing the system based on the feedback of our private sector-partners to enhance the overall ease in user experience,” Lucion added.

Seeing how the system will help other regions, PCAF-MES and Lucion planned to develop the AFC DMS this year not only for monitoring and tracking activities but for other activities and data that needs to be collected and analyzed. 

According to Lucion, there are talks that the AFC DMS will also be used for archiving and data analytics for the consultation targets and to perform ID issuance and profiling of AFC members. | CCB