Participants from Mindanao A discuss issues and concerns in their respective regions during the performance review and planning workshop.

More than 50 participants from the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga regions explored innovative ways to optimize benefits from consultative mechanism and fund utilization,  and to enhance  participatory monitoring and tracking (PMT) approaches and guidelines during the Mindanao A Participatory Performance Review and Planning Workshop on September 13 to 15, 2023 in Cagayan de Oro.

The areawide activity is part of the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries’ (PCAF) efforts to enhance and sustain its participatory mechanism towards effective public-private partnerships and creation of sound policies for the development of the agriculture and fisheries sector.

Aside from the Regional and Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC and PAFC) Chairpersons, the activity was also attended by RAFC and PAFC coordinators, sectoral representatives, Regional Executive Directors, regional budget and accounting officers, and regional-based coordinators.

Participants from Northern Mindanao with Regional Executive Director (RED) Carlene Collado, PCAF OIC Exec. Dir. (ED) Julieta Opulencia and DA 10 Regional Technical Director (RTD) Carlota Madriaga.
RAFC Chairperson Christopher Lindo leads the photo op with participants from Caraga with RED Collado, ED Opulencia and RTD Madriaga.
RAFC Vice Chairperson Adelberto Baniqued and the participants from Zamboanga Peninsula with RED Collado, ED Opulencia and RTD Madriaga.
PCAF officers and staff, led by ED Opulencia, pose with RED Collado and RTD Madriaga.

In the three-day activity, RAFC ZamPen Vice Chairperson Adelberto Baniqued, RAFC Northern Mindanao Chairperson Nilda Salas, and RAFC Caraga Chairperson Christopher Lindo presented the most significant accomplishments and budget utilization in their respective regions.

On the other hand, PCAF officers presented the physical accomplishments, updates and actions taken from the past AFC-related issues and concerns, status of fund liquidation by region from Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 to 2023, and fund utilization reminders.

Gathering the information and data presented, the participants were grouped per region to work on the AFC 2024 calendar of activities, FY 2024 Plan and Budget, and crafting of FY 2025 Plan and Budget proposal.

“May ginagawa ang PCAF na paraan para madagdagan ang budget natin over the years. We are trying to find new opportunities para madagdagan yung pondo natin for the AFCs. I am always supportive of the AFCs of Mindanao. In workshops like these, you have proven to be very attentive, yet assertive,” said OIC Deputy Executive Director Cyril Soliaban.

The group agreed to revisit the catch-up plan they had crafted during the Joint Mid Year Performance Review in July as a guide to reach their targets. Apart from reviewing their plans, the AFCs recommended to explore the possibility of adapting and adhering to the “Suyod” approach to maximize the fund utilization per region.

The “Suyod” approach means to synchronize activities in a certain region or province to cover as many areas and optimize one’s travel and fund utilization. 

The AFCs were also encouraged to forge partnership agreements with the civil society organizations (CSOs) in their localities to boost cooperation and participation in the development of the industry. 

The participants also suggested to PCAF to consider harmonizing the AFC election with the local government unit election for the smooth implementation of the Guidelines on the Engagement of Consultative Bodies.

They also tackled ways to improve the physical and financial performance of the AFCs not only at the region but also at the municipal level.

The activity also opened discussions to generate innovative and gender-responsive interventions to achieve the agency’s intended outcomes.

One of the recommendations that would address the lack of participation in the Gender and Development (GAD) and Person with Disability-related activities is to conduct orientation and actively encourage the participation of AFCs in GAD-related activities.

Among the agreements reached include the provision of more detailed physical accomplishment reports, like the number of consultations by the Executive Committee and Sectoral Committee, for more effective monitoring. It was also agreed that the AFCs, along with the coordinators, shall initially reconcile the AFC physical and financial accomplishments with PCAF prior to reporting to the oversight agencies for convergence.

The AFCs also emphasized their interest in PCAF’s PMT. They recommended to PCAF to step up its coordination with the Department of Agriculture on the harmonization of the Department’s monitoring and tracking approaches and tools.

They also recommended the enhancement of PMT guidelines, including the allocation of 5% of the banner program monitoring fund of the AFCs. For 2024, the AFCs requested PCAF to present the monitoring form or questionnaire to the AFCs before the start of the monitoring activity.

On the budget implementation, the PCAF Finance team agreed to develop guidelines for the agency fund transfer flowchart and conduct regular monitoring of the status of disbursement and liquidation of fund transfers.  The AFCs were also advised to continuously prepare and submit liquidation reports every after activity or at the end of each month. 

Meanwhile, Budget Section Chief Jose Redentor Besenio reminded the AFCs, coordinators, and the regional budget and accounting officers to obligate and disburse remaining funds transfers on or before the end of the year, and to reflect cash requirement in the Financial Plan Budget Execution Documents in case the funds from FY 2023 will lapse in FY 2024. Mr. Besenio added that AFC activities should always be aligned with PCAF’s thrusts and priorities. 

Aside from the three regions which comprise the Mindanao A cluster, PCAF will also conduct the areawide activities in six other island clusters. | Jezebel Campaniel