LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal council approved an ordinance prescribing guidelines, rules and regulations for the promotion, development and sustainability of organic agriculture in the municipality, providing penalties for violations and for other purposes.
Ordinance No. 10, series of 2019, states it is an inherent function of the government to protect life and advance the rights of all citizens to food sufficiency, sovereignty and safety, sustainable livelihood and social equity, pursuant to the rhythm and harmony of nature and towards the said end, the municipal government institutionalizes the La Trinidad Organic Agriculture Program for the purpose of mainstreaming all programs on organic agriculture in the town.
Provisions of the approved ordinance shall be applicable to all organic agriculture practitioners, farmers, cooperatives and organizations engaged in the production, distribution, and selling of organic farm products in the municipality as sources of livelihood.
The ordinance declared organic agriculture zones in the municipality that shall include agricultural zones identified under the comprehensive land use plan (CLUP), particularly described under the town’s zoning ordinance, wherein the said zones shall be designated by the municipal council through the recommendation of the organic agriculture council pursuant to the presence of actual organic agriculture practitioners; presence of natural or man-made water formations, including areas covered by irrigation, potable water sources and similar facilities; identified buffer zones to shield organic agriculture from other land uses that impact in the integrity of the practice of organic agriculture and areas suited for agricultural production as defined under the CLUP of the municipality.
The institutionalized organic agricultural sustainability, development and promotion programs and activities include organic agriculture festival week, government organic promotion display centers, organic products market day, seminars and trainings, organic gene-seed bank, support services, credit for small organic farmers, schools participation, data bank for organic practitioners, incentives, research and development and promotion of urban organic agriculture.
The ordinance also creates the La Trinidad Organic Agriculture Sustainability and Development Council which will act as the policy-making and recommendatory body in terms of organic programs and policies. It shall be chaired by the municipal mayor or his authorized representative while the vice chairman will be the chairperson of the municipal council committee on agriculture. The members will include the municipal local government operations officer, representative from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial office, 3 representatives from the municipal associations or cooperatives of certified organic practitioners or farmers, 3 representatives from small farmers involved in organic agriculture, representative from the private sector or agri-business firm involved in organic agriculture, representative from agricultural colleges and universities, representative from consumers groups involved in organic agriculture, chairman of the municipal agricultural and fisheries council, public schools district supervisor and all the punong barangays of the municipality.
Any person who wilfully and deliberately violates the provisions of the ordinance shall be penalized by a written stern warning for the first offense, a fine of P1,500 for the second offense and a fine of P2,500 and automatic cancellation of the control number assigned to the organic agriculture practitioner and confiscation or voluntary surrender of the identification card issued for the third offense.