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RCEF-Mech program releases first batch of machinery grants

The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) mechanization program implemented by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) has released 31 four-wheel tractors, 13 rice combine harvesters and two riding-type mechanical rice transplanters to 36 Farmers’ Cooperatives and Associations (FCA) in Nueva. The turn-over ceremony was held in June 4 at the PHilMech main office in Munoz Science City, Nueva Ecija.

This is the first batch of distribution of machinery grants to qualified FCAs under the two billion 2019 budget. It is projected that 5,968 farmers from Nueva Ecija, who are FCA-recipient members, will benefit from the distributed machines.

Dr. Baldwin G. Jallorina, PHilMech Director IV, addressed the 141 FCA members who joined the ceremony explaining the objectives of the mechanization program.

“Sa loob ng anim na taon na ito’y ipatutupad, nais ng programa na isulong at ipakilala sa mga magsasakang Filipino ang paggamit ng mabisa at matipid na makinaryang pansaka. Nais din nitong bigyan ng pagkakataon ang lahat ng magsasaka na makagamit ng angkop na makinarya sa produksyon ng palay hanggang sa makatapos-ani,” Jallorina said.

Director Jallorina encouraged the recipients to be responsible stewards of the machines and to use it efficiently and regularly to rebrand agriculture and farming for the next generation.

“Bagaman grant po ito, nawa ay alagaan natin ang mga makinaryang ating tatanggapin. Gamitin natin ito nang husto at sama-sama nating baguhin ang imahe ng pagbubukid sa mga mata ng susunod na henerasyon,” he said.

PHilMech has yet to deliver 50,000 to 70,000 more units of agri-machinery to 9,000 FCAS under 56 provinces, and around 1,000 municipalities nationwide under the 2019 budget.

Dr. William D. Dar, Department of Agriculture secretary, was virtually present through an online video conference when he addressed the FCAs during the ceremony. He lauded PHilMech for its efforts to deliver the machinery to FCAs under the RCEF program.

“Let me congratulate the officials of PHilMech led by Baldwin Jallorina. Let’s do much more in really appreciating what are the very requirements of these FCAs that what would work for them be our guideposts. Of course, there will always be state-of-the-art machinery that we need to give them,” said the DA Secretary.

Dr. Dar also explained how all the efforts of the agencies of DA like PHilMech are gearing towards the program of the department called the “Plant. Plant. Plant.” Program.

Both Dr. Jallorina and Dr. Dar expressed their gratitude to Senator Cynthia A. Villar, the principal author of the Rice Tariffication Law which provided the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund. They lauded her efforts in the agriculture sector for the benefit of the Filipino farmers.

Local government officials of Nueva Ecija, Governor Aurelio M. Umali, District II Congresswoman Micaela S. Salvador and Science City of Muñoz Mayor Nestor L. Alvarez, also graced the event. Engr. Crispulo G. Bautista Jr., the OIC regional executive director of the DA-Regional Field Office III, was also present during the ceremony.

FCA farmers have expressed their views and gratitude about receiving the machinery grant from the RCEF Mechanization Program.

“Ito po ay malaking biyaya para sa aming mga magsasaka. Ito po ang tulay para umangat kaming mga magsasaka lalo na po ngayong inabot natin ang krisis na ito,” said Marissa Ferrer of Carriedo Malabog Irrigators Association Inc. in Licab, Nueva Ecija.

“Sa programa ng RCEF, ito’y malaking bagay sa aming mga magsasaka dahil ito ay makapagpapataas ng aming kita,” said Abraham Dumuk, Jr. of Kaagapay ng Bayang Sagana Agriculture Cooperative in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Right after accomplishing the documentary requirements on the transfer of ownership of the machines, the FCA operators have driven home their million-worth machines.

PHilMech has strictly implemented preventive measures under the new normal for mass gathering during the ceremony. Temperature screening, handwashing, social distancing and properly distanced sitting arrangements were strictly observed.