(Right) Partnership Development Division Assistant Division Chief Soledad Bernardo discusses the AFC Manual of Operations (MOO) to the newly recruited members (left) during the AFC orientation in Baguio City. The MOO contains information on the policies, processes and procedures adopted by PCAF relative to the organization, structure, membership, roles and functions, activities, outputs and other concerns of the AFCs as instrumentalities composed of volunteers at the regional and local levels. (Photos courtesy of VMS Staff)

A total of 73 newly recruited Agricultural and Fisheries Council (AFC) members pledged commitment during the island-wide orientations in April and May to help the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) in agriculture and fisheries development through participation and relevant discussions which would result into crafting of sound policy recommendations.

The orientation was part of the membership process for new AFC recruits that aimed to create common understanding on the DA’s and PCAF’s mandate, programs, activities, and projects (PAPs), and AFC Manual of Operations (MOO).

“I realized that the AFCs have an important role in the agriculture and fishery development in our locality as volunteer-partners,” said one of the participants.

Aside from DA’s and PCAF’s mandate, the new members also need to have a uniform and shared understanding on the AFCs’ roles, functions, responsibilities, rights, benefits and limitations as a new member of the Council.

It also ensured that there are common appreciation on the participatory monitoring and tracking activities, and on the processes and feedback mechanisms of PCAF’s Advisory Special Bodies.

The newly recurited AFC members were grouped into three batches. The first batch was held on April 24 to 26 in Baguio City. The 24 new members were from Cordillera Autonomous Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON.

The second batch were composed of 25 new members from MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas. The group’s orientation was held on May 6 to 9 in Cebu City.

The third batch was conducted on May 20 to 24 in General Santos City with 24 new members. They were from Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao, SOCCSKSARGEN, and Caraga Region.

PCAF-Social Mobilization Section (SMS) also presented the Expected AFC Outputs, which includes major final outputs, other outputs, required documents, and the schedule of submission of documents. The 2019 targets for AFC consultative meetings was also discussed by SMS.

Aside from these, PCAF-Volunteer Management Section Cluster Coordinator also briefed the participants on how to accomplish the necessary forms like the membership application form, membership profile (for individual AFC members), and AFC profile (for council profile).

The new recruits were also familiarized about the guidelines on Gawad Saka Search for Outstanding Provincial and Municipal AFCs, and the guidelines on the Search for Oustanding AFC Chairpersons and Secretariat-Coordinators.

“It is very heart-warming to witness newly recruited AFC members commit their time and help DA in achieving its goals for a sustainable economy, particularly in the agriculture and fishery sector,” said PCAF Executive Director Sarah Gutierrez-Cayona after the pledge of commitment and awarding of certificates of completion in General Santos City orientation. | JC