COTABATO CITY: Farmers and fisher folk of Misamis Occidental which for so long carried the stigma as the heartland of the notorious criminal gang Kuratong Baleleng, received about P120-million worth of agriculture and fisheries projects and machineries from the government.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said delivery of the projects and machineries, including 152 fiberglass fishing boats under the FB Pagbabago program of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) came five months after he visited Tangub City in June for the first Biyaheng Bukid sortie.
Misamis Occidental Gov. Hermie Ramiro and Vice Gov. Gigi Almonte led local officials, farmers and fisher folk in the turnover held at the provincial capitol compound in Oroquieta City.
Piñol also committed to make available in 2018, the P100-million in loans under the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC).
The PLEA program, now being implemented nationwide, aims to provide easy access financing to farmers and fisher folk in sums ranging from P5,000 to P50,000 without collateral with only six percent interest per annum which goes to the conduit bank or cooperative handling the loan program.
He said the DA assigns a Project Management Officer (PMO) to supervise each loan package to validate the viability of the projects proposed by the loan applicants and to supervise utilization of the money.
Piñol’s second Biyaheng Bukid sortie in Misamis Occidental recently coincided with the culmination of the province’s celebration of Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month.
“It was also the fulfillment of the commitments I made when I first visited the province in June when agriculture and fisheries stakeholders shared their problems and needs for intervention from government,” Piñol said.