Thursday, 10 April 2008

PGMA launches sustainable upland agri development program in Abra


PILAR, Abra – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched today the Abra Sustainable Agriculture Development (ASAD) program, a priority government project designed to restore and transform degraded and marginal areas into self-sufficient upland farming communities.

The President “switched on” the rehabilitation-construction of the communal irrigation systems (CIS) that will benefit the four neighboring upland municipalities of Pilar, Las Paz, Lagayan and Manabo.

Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral, Abra Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin, Rep. Cecille Luna of the lone district of Abra, assisted the President in the ceremonial “switch-on.”

In her impromptu speech, the President explained that the key objective of the ASAD program is to help upland farmers like those in Abra increase their production through the application and utilization of modern agricultural methods and infrastructure facilities, including the communal irrigation system (CIS).

Another important aspect of the program is to develop the watershed areas in the province, educate the resident on upland farming by using genetic and organic fertilizers and the putting up hydraulic pumps to pump water in tandem withthe irrigation systems network.

The President has released at least P100 million for the operation of ASAD. The CIS is expected to cover thousands of hectares of upland farmlands, and thereby help generate jobs in the area.

“Sana makatulong ito (ASAD) sa Pilar at sa buong probinsiya ng Abra,” the President said.

The ASAD program is an integrated approach to communal upland farming which requires land use planning and the application of appropriate soil/water conservation technologies to restore and transform degraded and marginal upland areas into self-sufficient farming communities.

The program also integrates water resources development through the rehabilitation and construction of CISs.

Shortly upon her arrival here, the President led the groundbreaking ceremony for the P4-million, two-storey, four-classroom school building at the Pilar Central School.

Construction of the additional classrooms is expected to be completed by July 2008, or one month after the opening of classes of school year 2008-2009.

After the groundbreaking ceremony, the President distributed grocery packs to about 5,000 indigent residents of Pilar, and awarded 25 scholarship vouchers of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and 10 certificates to operate Tindahan Natin to Pilar Mayor Rolando Somera.

She also distributed 50 Buntis Kits of the Department of Health (DOH) containing multi-vitamins and other items for pregnant women, two certificates to operate Botika ng Barangay and tool kits for the Galing Mekaniko Ako and Galing Masahista Ako.

The President also presented conditional cash transfers (CCT) worth P1,400 per family. The CCT will be used by the qualified family as monthly allowance for the education of their children.

A certificate of award for various small-scale irrigation and market access facilities, production support equipment and post-harvest facilities were also awarded by the President to Abra through Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin.

The certificate of award is the manifestation of the government’s concern to provide all necessary production and agri-infrastructure and equipment support to the farmer-beneficiaries in the production of rice, corn, and high value commercial crops.

A separate certificate of award for the 28 kilograms of assorted vegetable seeds was also distributed to the farmers of Pilar in support of the government’s hunger mitigation program -- Programang Gulayan ng Masa project.

The President also presented to Mayor Somera P5 million worth of checks from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to be used in the construction of a farm-to-market road in his municipality.

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