More than 50 members of the Participatory Monitoring and Tracking (PMT) Teams of the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) conducted monitoring and evaluation of projects funded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the six provinces of Western Visayas from May 8 to 10, 2023.
The activity aims to promote transparency and accountability in all actions, transactions, and services of DA by involving PCAF’s network of consultative bodies (CBs) composed of various farmers and fisherfolk organizations, and other industry stakeholders. The CBs consist of the National Sectoral Committees (NSCs) and the Agricultural and Fishery Council (AFCs).
The PCAF-Monitoring and Evaluation Section technical staff joined and assisted the PMT by providing logistical support for the conduct of the activity.
Prior to actual monitoring, the PCAF team requested and secured annual accomplishment reports and project lists with profiles from the DA Regional Field Office (RFO) and other implementing agencies as bases for preparing the PMT plan.
Findings and Recommendations
In the exit conference conducted on May 12, 2023, in Iloilo City, the PMT members presented their findings and recommendations to Engr. Jose Albert Barrogo, DA-Western Visayas Regional Executive Director along with the region’s banner program focal persons.
“One of the most important parts of our job as AFCs is the monitoring. As we present the findings, we do not want to find fault. We wish you to find it as a constructive area for improvement. After all, we are here to improve our service delivery to be more effective, efficient and beneficial to our partners,” said Western Visayas Farmer-Director (FD) and RAFC Chairperson Buen Mondejar.
In the discussion, the DA-RFO VI agreed to provide the PMT team with an updated list of projects with location coordinates to aid the monitoring of identified projects. The recipients will also be given a copy of their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for them to be aware of their roles and responsibilities as owners.
In terms of machinery and equipment monitored, the DA-RFO will revalidate the projects and take appropriate steps to identify the cause of the findings and implement possible solutions.
The focal persons will also check whether the spare parts are readily available in the local market as stipulated in the guidelines. In the PMT findings, the beneficiaries were not able to fully utilize the machinery and equipment because spare parts are not available and they would often check e-commerce firms.
“When they buy spare parts online, hindi sila nakakasiguro na quality ang mga ito. Baka mas lalong masira ang mga equipment that are worth hundreds of thousands,” said Guimaras Municipal AFC Chairperson Gerlie Magno.
NSC on High Value Crops-Coffee and Cacao Chairperson David Santos suggested to DA-RFO to include the after-sales service, availability of spare parts and service center in the contract with the supplier of the machine and equipment. He also mentioned that the suppliers’ technical person should have conducted information unloading on how to use the machine and equipment and how to troubleshoot it.
On the other hand, the DA-RFO will meet with the Regional AFC (RAFC) to come up with guidelines on the involvement of the AFC in project proposal evaluation. Dir. Barrogo will also consider possible AFC endorsement of projects prior to their approval.
FD and RAFC Chairperson Mondejar noted that they would not like to add another layer to the approval process. However, the AFCs would be a great help in validating organizations, interventions, and data because the Councils are present down to the municipal level.
He also mentioned that the AFCs can craft policy resolutions and recommendations that would help the region and the beneficiaries resolve issues and concerns.
The PMT is keen on crafting a policy resolution urging the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to come up with interventions to address the issue arising from the Department’s reforestation program in San Enrique, Iloilo (a separate article will be written on this). | JC