DAR Caraga awards regional key players in fight against hunger and poverty, reorients provincial implementers

PAHP National Coordinator, Ma. Susan S. Gambalan, during the Kumustahan Session.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Regional Office Caraga conducted a 2-day Regionwide Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP) Re-Orientation and Kumustahan Session cum Awarding Ceremony at Almont Inland Hotel, Butuan City on July 9-10, 2024.

PAHP is a collaborative effort between DAR and other government agencies, i.e. the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Philippine National Police (PNP), various Medical Mission Groups (MMGs), etc., to reduce poverty and hunger across the nation sustainably by creating linkages between agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) and institutional markets.

This activity aimed to address 3 salient points: the reorientation of new PAHP field implementers with the turnover rate of DAR due to promotion and movement of personnel, the Kumustahan session, to consult with the partner instititutions the pertinent issues and concerns with existing or potential marketing agreements, and the awards ceremony, to recognize the invaluable contribution of individuals and offices to the success of PAHP in Caraga.

Key officials from partner institutions in attendance were BJMP Regional Director, JSSupt. Belinda A. Ebora, DSWD Assistant Regional Director, Paul S. Parajes, PNP Surigao del Sur 1st Mobile Force Company, PLtCol. Felix Gonzales, Jr., and Andres Soriano Memorial Hospital Cooperative Medical Director, Dr. Angelo Dimaano, among other key personnel from their respective organizations.

DAR Caraga Regional Director, Atty. Merlita S. Capinpuyan, praised the Caraga team for securing 2nd place in the national PAHP Awards on June 27, 2024, acknowledging the dedication of the provincial offices in facilitating market access for ARBOs. "The success of our farmers made possible through your unwavering support and enthusiasm, is a testament to our collective efforts," RD Capinpuyan stated.

DAR Caraga Regional Director, Atty. Merlita S. Capinpuyan, addressing the participants during her welcome speech.

On the first day, the reorientation session focused on equipping participants with the latest strategies, policies, and best practices in poverty and hunger alleviation.

PAHP Regional Focal Person, Engr. Vaughn Jason C. Lastimado happily reported that there was a 50% increase in the sales performance of ARBOs under this program compared to last year, with the figures estimated to be already around P 63.9-M. This, in addtition to the DAR Caraga's efforts of eyeing additional ARBOs to participate in PAHP.

Day 2 featured the Kumustahan session, providing participants with a platform to share their experiences, challenges, and success stories within the region.

Ma. Susan S. Gambalan, the PAHP national coordinator, also shared her stories and best practices of other regions with Caraga regarding the linkages with institutional buyers and potential markets.

The BJMP Caraga Region, JCInsp. Melba H. Balmori, Chief of the Welfare and Development Division, presented the bureau’s list of jails with updated marketing agreements with their partner agencies. Out of the nine jails in the region, seven have active marketing contracts with DAR-assisted ARBOs.

Continuing the rest of the activity for day 2, the afternoon celebrated the provincial offices' achievements and individual contributors' achievements. 

Special Awards:

  • Best Provincial Coordinator - Cyrene Flor Tajonera
  • Sustained Marketing Contract of Km. 7 Farmers Producers Cooperative - Lucio T. Juni
  • Outstanding Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer - Joven P. Pizarro
  • Most Number of Active Marketing Contracts - DAR Surigao del Sur.

Awards for the Most Sustained Marketing Contracts Since Linked to Institutional Markets

  • Agusan del Norte - Km. 7 Farmers Producers Cooperative
  • Agusan del Sur - La Fortuna Multi-Purpose Cooperative
  • Surigao del Norte - San Pedro Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative
  • Surigao del Sur - San Roque Farmers Producers Cooperative

Awards to Institutional Partners for their Continuous Support to the Program

  • Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Project Management Office
  • Andres Soriano Memorial Hospital Cooperative
  • Philippine National Police Surigao del Sur 1st Mobile Force Company
  • Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Caraga Region
  • Department of Health-Center for Health Development Caraga

Speaking on behalf of the Km. 7 Farmers Producers Cooperative, chairperson Samual C. Calawigan, Jr., emphasized the importance of PAHP's mission by saying,  "The war of arms can be avoided but the war of hunger cannot. This recognition has made us feel important in continuing the fight against hunger and poverty."

La Fortuna Multi-Purpose Cooperative Chairperson, Mr. Reynaldo S. Maido, Sr., during his response speech for the awards received of their ARBO.

Meanwhile, La Fortuna Multi-Purpose Cooperative Chairperson, Reynaldo S. Maido, Sr., also shared, “It was a challenge for farmer leaders to build a big and successful business. But through the guidance of DAR, under PAHP, and the linkages they have made, we were able to do it. Thank you so much to DAR.”

For the renewed support of the attendees for the objectives of PAHP, a toast of solidarity led by OIC-Assistant Regional Director Joie L. Ceballos.

The event concluded with the parting words of Assistant Regional Director for Operations, Agnes Dela Cerna, “PAHP was formed for the benefit of the farmers for which DAR was formed under. We will continue the fight against hunger and poverty, and we are grateful for the partnerships we have forged. May PAHP continue to serve its purpose.”