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With the objective of providing particular indigent sectors of our society’s access to various government programs and projects to help alleviate poverty, the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR) through its Special Area for Agriculture Development (SAAD), continuous to support identified beneficiaries in Apayao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.
The SAAD program is a locally funded DA program that aims to help alleviate poverty among the marginalized sectors of agriculture and fishery of the 30 priority provinces identified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The requirements for SAAD potential beneficiaries are: those belonging to the poor
DA-SAAD caters to the most indigent barangays that also often have communist terrorist groups (CTG) through social preparation activities, agricultural livelihoods, marketing assistance, and enterprise development.
Further, the SAAD program also provides assistance covered by Executive Order no. 70 series 2018 which involves the institutionalization of the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creating a national task force to end local communist armed conflict, and directing and adopting the national peace framework.
On the other hand, the End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) is the whole-of-nation-approach of the national government to attain inclusive and sustainable peace and to fight insurgency waged by CTG in identified areas where SAAD has been implementing its programs and projects since 2017.
To date, P47 million project funds from DA-CAR SAAD have covered 11 municipalities and 36 projects in the region. Further, SAAD projects implemented in CTG affected and threatened areas covered four (4) municipalities with 15 barangays in Mountain Province; 13 barangays in five (5) municipalities of Kalinga and; two (2) barangays in two (2) municipalities of Apayao from 2019 to 2021. It also covered a total of 33 FCAs and a total of 2,424 beneficiaries.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar, in his recent post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) virtual press briefing with journalists based in the Cordillera have expressed their optimism about the possible expansion of the programs and projects of SAAD in other parts of the country following the positive impact it has shown to current SAAD identified areas earlier categorized by the national government as among the marginalized sectors of the agriculture and fisheries sectors needing support from the government.
“I would like to inform the public that it is congress now that is asking for an expansion of SAAD to more provinces because they have seen the impact that the SAAD project has been given to the beneficiaries in other SAAD identified provinces,” Dar said.
The Secretary reiterated SAAD’s objective of bringing livelihood and income opportunities that are sustainable to the poor members of the community or those who are in poverty and who are really lacking the needed capital.
“We in the department provides intervention programs and projects through SAAD like poultry, livestock raising, small ruminant, aside from providing support to vegetable production, fruit tree production with the goal of raising their livelihood to alleviate their poverty situation,” the Agriculture Secretary added.
Earlier, Mountain Province Congressman Maximo Dalog Jr. has expressed his opinion on the possible extension of the SAAD under DA not only in his Congressional district but in other areas in the country needing government support to improve the production and livelihood of farmers and fisherfolk.
The Congressman explained the resolution was recently filed in the lower house of Congress by members of Congress seeking an extension of SAAD after seeing the positive impact and contribution of the said program to their selected constituents.
“There was a house resolution filed by Congresswoman Olga Kho of Masbate, because of the success of SAAD they wanted this to be emulated in other areas in the country which is not SAAD identified areas since they saw the success stories of those beneficiaries of DA-CAR SAAD to which the resolution is centered on extending the program,” Dalog stated.