Tuesday, June 3, 2014

DARFO III – 7ID MOU Signing for Fort Mag Livelihood

FORT RAMON MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija – The 7th Infantry (KAUGNAY) Division signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) known as “7ID-DARFO III Memorandum of Understanding” with the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office III (DARFO) regarding the utilization of Fort Magsaysay Reservation for livelihood projects this May 27, Tuesday, 10 am, at the Kaugnay Officers’ Clubhouse, Fort Magsaysay.

In line with the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DA and the Department of National Defense – Armed Forces of the Philippines (DND-AFP) signed last May 2, 2013 regarding the utilization of Military Reservation in the country for livelihood projects, the 7ID, representing the DND-AFP would take an initiative to make a sub-written agreement with the DARFO III, representing the DA for the actual implementation of the projects.

7ID Inspector General Col. Librado Moog who came in behalf of 7ID Brig. Gen. Glorioso Miranda and DARFO III Regional Executive Director Andrew Villacorta were the signatories for the MOU Signing, DARFO III Coordinator Avelino David and 7ID Acting Chief of Staff Col. Wilfredo Villahermosa stood witness to the event.

The program sequence, emceed by 1Lt Erwin Simanca, began with an invocation led by Cpt. Ciryll Abringe. Mr. David afterwards gave the Overview of the Project. He reported what has transpired one year after the mother-MOA signing. “DA had brought some inputs to highlight the agreement. For instance, we had the ceremonial releasing of the tilapia fingerlings in Cordero Dam so we hope you have benefited from them,” Mr. David said.

On the other hand, he mentioned that Typhoon Santi which greatly hit Nueva Ecija devastated some of the project sites such as the rice plantation in Real Estate Preservation and Welfare Center (REPEWC) and the chicken hatchery house. Nevertheless, he assured that the losses won’t amount much because the livelihood project was insured.

He also added that the 4x4 farming tractor with implements given by DA and is now under REPEWC Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Pedro Bedoña’s management has greatly helped in the planting and harvesting of crops such as mung bean, allocated with a 2.5 hectare area which harvested 275 kilos; rice, allocated 5 hectares which harvested measly 132 bags of rice with 65% milling recovery due to the typhoon onslaught. “Kahit sa kaunting paraan, meron tayong nalikom sa “rice planting,” Mr. David emphasized. 

After the Coordinator’s report, the actual MOU Signing followed. As written in the memorandum, DARFO III shall provide all agriculturally-related needs, such as livestock, seedlings, farming equipment and materials, fertilizers, and also the techno-trainings which are very essential to the program’s success. Meanwhile, 7ID shall be responsible for managing the project and whatever is granted by the DA. Their responsibility includes the management of the financial and organizational activities, maintenance and care of the animals, allocation of demo area for each specific commodity, submission of reports, and assignment of permanent personnel or staff to oversee the projects to ensure successful program implementation among others.

Before the program ended, Col. Moog in behalf of Brig. Gen. Miranda and Dir. Villacorta gave their respective remarks. Col. Moog said that since most lands are converted into residential areas, food security is put in danger, and livelihood projects such they had signed last year helped preserve food security and the welfare of the Army personnel and retirees. He added that sooner the entire community can benefit from the project. For example, tilapia could be bought at a much lower price not just by Army personnel but by the entire community surrounding the fort. He also focused on the importance the project can make in the lives of the Army personnel and retirees. “Testing ground is here,” Col. Moog emphasized. With the trainings and exposure in the projects, concerned Army personnel will be more confident in investing on farming and livestock on their own which will by far augment their livelihood. “In behalf of our Commander, we are happy with the effort of the DA,” the Inspector General added.

Dir. Villacorta expressed the same sentiments. He expressed that the MOU had focused on the DARFO III and 7ID which signifies their joy and at the same time, focus and seriousness with the project. “Gusto naming i-evaluate kung saan pa iyung pwedeng taniman and also the planting season,” Dir. Villacorta said. Since the project has gotten bigger, Dir. Villacorta reminded that labor and manpower aside from the climate and weather factors are two concerns which must addressed. “We should learn from our experiences. Alamin kung saan ba talaga suitable so that mautilize yung land area,” Dir. Villacorta added. He said that the 4-wheel tractor and the hand tractor which were granted to the 7ID must increase in number since they are planning to extend the project land area to 50 hectares which will grow crops such as cassava, corn, rice, and permanent crops such as mango, calamansi, and coffee, and raise livestock such as chicken, goat, and sheep. He also expressed that the Fort Magsaysay has a potential to be a certified seed grower which will eventually attract agricultural private companies to invest on the reservation area of the camp.

Indeed, the said MOU has strengthened the partnership between the DA-DARFO III and DND-AFP-7ID which will open more possibilities to fully stretch the potential of Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in agricultural productivity, Army personnel’s welfare, and eventually, the entire community’s welfare as well.

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