The Municipality of Pinamungajan, being an embodiment of agricultural tourism in the Province of Cebu, received financial support worth P6 million from the Cebu Provincial Government.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia turned over three cheques worth P2 million each to Pinamungajan Mayor Glenn Baricuatro Monday, December 7, at the Hidden Valley Mountain Resort Convention Center in Barangay Lamac to invigorate further their programs on agro-enterprise value chains such as cassava production, coconut production and coco-products manufacturing, cacao production, vegetable production, and dairy processing, among others.
Garcia said that the amount is to support the programs of Baricuatro in line with Capitol's Enhanced Countryside Development (ECD) program which focuses primarily on the sustained planting of corn, cassava, and other high-value crops.
The turnover was carried out prior to the distribution of food and cash subsidy to marginal farmers and fisherfolks worth P5,000 by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the presence of DA Secretary William Dar.
Of the amount, P3,000 can be claimed through M.Lhuillier through a coupon with Quick Response (QR) code. The remaining P2,000 come in the form of goods such as local rice worth P1,000, fresh eggs worth P400, and native chicken worth P600.
Twenty farmers attended the ceremonial turnover which was also witnessed by DA Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes, Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia, 3rd District Provincial Board Member John Ismael Borgonia, and Dr. Delfin Toquib of the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC) Board of Directors, and other key officials of line agencies.
The subsidy for marginal farmers and fisherfolks is stipulated in the Bayanihan Act to assist farmers and fishermen who are called heroes in the countryside.
According to Dar, of the P24 billion funds appropriation for DA, social protection and amelioration program got an allocation of P4.5 billion.
Because of the urgent need to deliver the said sectoral services under continued community quarantines, Pinamungajan, a productive agricultural municipality, will get its immediate share of the funds based on proposals of productivity-enhancing projects, he added.
The Cebu Provincial Government also received from DA 103 boats for marginal fishermen which cost P7.8 million.
Garcia received the assistance from Dar through a ceremonial turnover of a miniature fishing boat and a Certificate of Commitment.
Dar committed further to mobilize more resources in Region 7 with P454 million for Cebu next year, or an additional P23 million to this year's budget for Cebu worth P431 million.
Pinamungajan is the home of LMPC, a Platinum Gawad Pitak Awardee. LMPC General Manager Maria Elena Canda-Limocon shared that they "have been inviting DA secretaries in the past, but Dar is the first DA Secretary to have come to Lamac."
Garcia, in her speech, recalled how two Cebu-based cooperatives received the most-coveted award in the field of cooperativism.
"Four years ago, I was there when two Cebu-based cooperatives were given the Platinum Gawad Pitak Awards. This award is not to be given yearly. There were years that no coops qualified because of its stringent conditions and standards, but that year, I was a proud daughter and a proud Sugbuanon because in the non-agri-based (category) Cebu CFI Community Cooperative which Pablo John, and my mother (Judge Esperanza Fiel Garcia) established was awarded while Lamac Multipurpose Coop made it in the agri-based category, a coop in the third district of Cebu which I represented," she narrated.
"Today, I stand here as a proud person and a proud governor as Honorable Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture has come to visit the most, if not the best, agri-coop in the entire country right here in Pinamungajan, right here in the Province," Garcia added.
"You honor us with your presence, your visit could not have come at a better time now as we promote Lamac Multipurpose Coop as an embodiment of what farm tourism is all about," the governor continued.
On November 19, the Provincial Tourism Task Force was in Pinamungajan for the reopening of the town's tourism activities.
Lamac, known for farm tourism, welcomed guests to its organic farm which is a demo farm school accredited with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Another attraction is its carabao breeding farm and milking station in Barangay Punod, the home of albino carabaos.
Also in Punod is the caramilk processing plant, coconut sugar processing facility, and "tablea" (chocolate tablets made from premium cacao beans) production facility.
"Kahit pandemic, nagtuloy-tuloy po tayo. We continue to grow in membership at 103,000. Around 30,000 are in Cebu, 2,000 of which are in Pinamungajan. Our assets have grown to P1.9 billion. We continue to recognize our humble beginnings as 'Samahang Nayon’ (in 1973 with only 70 members and P3,500 as seed money), and acknowledge that we have grown because of our partnership with government agencies, people's organizations, and civil society organizations," Limocon said.
Deputy Speaker Garcia, who represents the 3rd District of Cebu, vowed assistance in road concreting or improvements of more farm-to-market roads to support the Capitol’s ECD program and SUGBUsog programs
These are initiatives to boost food production through farming, fishing, and food manufacturing in the countryside for more resilient economic opportunities that encourage self-sufficiency right at people's hometowns, and backyards, in order to decongest urban centers.
Mayor Baricuatro accepted the "mejoras" accorded to his town by the Capitol and the DA as well as the respect and honor given to LMPC as a benchmark in agri-based coop in the entire nation today.
In his delight, he expressed "kasadya ning takna-a sa Lamac" (what a joyful moment for Lamac) as he thanked the gesture of support made by Secretary Dar and Governor Garcia to Pinamungajan. (Eleanor Valeros)