Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar led a meet and greet with the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC) Chairperson Emeriti and newly-appointed RAFC Executive Committee Chairpersons on August 3, 2021, through an online meeting.

This activity provided a chance for RAFCs to get to know more about the Agriculture Secretary and his thrusts, plans, and programs on DA towards the betterment of the agri-fishery sector. It also provided an avenue for exchange of ideas and to formally welcome the RAFC Chairpersons.

The newly appointed RAFC Executive Committee Chairpersons are as follows:

  • Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR): Amado William (8 years in service to AFC)
  • Ilocos Region: Benjamin Campañano (7 years in service to AFC)
  • Cagayan Valley Region: Dante Tobias (24 years in service to AFC)
  • Central Luzon: Francisco Hernandez (20 years in service to AFC)
  • CALABARZON: Pedrito Kalaw (7 years in service to AFC)
  • MIMAROPA: Alfonso Esguerra (10 years in service to AFC)
  • Bicol Region: Jose Cordero (31 years in service to AFC)
  • Western Visayas: Elma Peña (14 years in service to AFC)
  • Central Visayas: William Abay (11 years in service to AFC)
  • Eastern Visayas: Ariston Acedera (8 years in service to AFC)
  • Zamboanga Peninsula: Leonardo Caparida (24 years in service to AFC)
  • Northern Mindanao: Reynaldo Cabanao (8 years in service to AFC)
  • Davao Region: Epifanio Loyola Jr. (34 years in service to AFC)
  • SOCCSKSARGEN: Aurelio Betque (10 years in service to AFC)
  • CARAGA: Alex Lanaria (13 years in service to AFC)
  • BARMM: Dr. Alex Panalunsong (5 years in service to AFC)

RAFC Emeritus, which is the highest title conferred to an AFC Chairperson who has served for 10 years or more and made notable contributions to the AFC and to the agri-fishery sectors were also awarded during the event. 

As part of their rights and privileges, they can use the title Chairperson Emeritus in their signature on all documents related to the Council, continue to attend meetings and participate in activities of the Council, and other privileges as the Council may grant from time to time. RAFC Emeriti awardees are as follows:

  • Prof. Edgardo D. Layug (Northern Mindanao)
  • Isidro B. Acosta Sr. (Cagayan Valley)
  • Vincent A. Adorna (Ilocos Region)

In her message, PCAF OIC Executive Director Dr. Liza Battad highlighted the achievements of PCAF and the innovative reforms that it has undertaken through the years such as the PCAF iCARE, innovative consultation process, the revising of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Engagement of AFC’s (OGAFCE), and the empowerment of AFC’s through continuous capacity building and the 49% increase in AFC membership.

On the other hand, Secretary Dar also highlighted the memorandum which he just signed with the subject: “Additional Terms of Reference for RAFC Chairpersons” which added the following:

1. Participate in the procurement process as BAC observers and members of the TWG

2. Spearhead the conduct of Participatory Monitoring and Tracking of all DA Regional Programs, Projects, and Activities

3. Assist in the registration of farmers and fishers in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture

The Secretary also designated the RAFC Chairpersons as Monitoring & Feedforward Czars of DA Programs, Projects & Strategies.

He also shared DA’s accomplishments for the past year such as achieving the largest rice production harvest in Philippine history which is at 19.4 million metric tons, highest corn production, highest export in banana, and 90% self-sufficiency in onion. 

During the dialogue session, AFC Chairperson Emeritus for Cagayan Valley Isidro Acosta reassured the Council that he will extend his assistance in any way possible within his capacity towards the betterment of the agri-fishery sector.

AFC Chairperson Emeritus for Northern Mindanao Prof. Edgardo Layug on the other hand shared that it has been a fruitful 34 years of service and advocated for the stronger development and promotion of agri-fishery learning sites. “Based on my observations, for farmers and fisherfolks, the phrase to see is to believe applies to them. They want to be assured that it works before they apply these technologies in their respective farms,” said Prof. Layug.

Moreover, Secretary Dar encouraged the RAFC Chairpersons to do better and go higher towards bountiful harvest and to provide better income for farmers and fishers | CCB