The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has recorded some 6,583 validated and registered coconut farmers, owners, and laborers across the province under the National Coconut Farmers Registry System (NCFRS).
It admitted, however, that it is struggling to meet its mid-June deadline because of lack of personnel and due to quarantine restrictions.
Acting division chief Raul Aguilar said Thursday (April 29) that PCA-Palawan needs to validate almost 28,000 registrants under 2017 NCFRS and due to concerns encountered, the local agency has only attained some 23.51 percent of accomplishment as of April 28.
“Iyon nga ang pino-problema namin kasi supposed to be, ‘yong target namin na need i-validate na naka-register sa NCFRS namin noong last registration year 2017, almost 28,000 iyon. Ngayon as of 28 ng April, kahapon, ‘yong submission na reports ng field man namin ay nasa 6,583 pa lang. Lumalabas na kung tama ako ay nasa 24 percent pa lang ang accomplishment, mababa masyado,” Aguilar said.
“Unang-una, kulang kami sa tao talaga, iyong isang tao namin ay nagko-cover ng almost two to three municipalities. So ang ginagawa namin ay nakikipag-coordinate kami sa mga LGUs through agriculture office nila. Ang problema ay may kaniya-kaniyang trabaho rin sila, hindi naman nila ipa-priority ‘yong amin. Para matulungan lang kami, kapag may extra time sila, nagka-conduct sila ng registration,” he added.
Aguilar said that the 6,583 figure is a joint record of validated 2017 NCFRS registrants and new registrants. PCA updates the information of registered farmers uploaded in the registry system. The mass registration is also open for owners, owner-tiller, grower, tenant, tenant-worker, and worker-laborer. Due to the insufficient number of personnel to facilitate the validation and registration, he added that the agency could not concentrate on saturating each town of Palawan.
“Hindi kami makapag-concentrate ng one -time sa isang area kaya patalon-talon. Halimbawa dito kami ngayon sa Narra, sa susunod hindi naman lahat makakababa ng isang barangay, lipat kami sa ibang barangay. After niyan may schedule na naman kami sa ibang munisipyo. Ganon ang nangyayari, hindi maka-concentrate ng halimbawa na isang buwan dito kami sa Narra sa sunod dito kami sa Brooke’s, walang ganon,” he explained.
According to Republic Act 11524 or Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act (CFITF), all coconut farmers must be registered to NCFRS. The law was signed on February 26, which mandates the creation of a 50-year CFITF, provided under a coconut industry development plan that is yet to be formulated by the PCA. A previous statement of the Department of Agriculture where PCA is attached stated that the law will pave way for the efficient use of the multi-billion-peso coconut levy to uplift the livelihood of millions of farmers and sustain the development of the country’s coconut industry.
The due date given for the registration to be submitted to the regional office of PCA is middle of June. “Susubukan namin ngayon dahil pinayagan kami kumuha ng enumerator, baka sakali na maihabol namin. Siguro magkakaroon naman ng extension ‘yan kasi makikita naman ng central office namin ‘yong target versus accomplishment. Walang magagawa, i-extend talaga ‘yan, may possibility na i-extend ‘yan,” he said.
Movement restrictions due to the pandemic also hampered the flow of NCFRS registration and validation of PCA-Palawan, he said. “Tulad ng San Vicente, ngayon, hindi sila nagpapapasok. Actually, meron pa kami dapat idi-distribute doon na cash and food subsidy, hindi kami makapasok dahil meron silang advisory na ipinalabas na hindi muna sila tatanggap ng bisita roon. Ang ginagawa naming, kino-contact namin ‘yong MAO na sila naman pwede makapasok sa Puerto, baka makadaan sa office ay pinapadala na lang namin ‘yong mga QR Code para sila na lang ang mag-distribute,” he said.
Based on PCA records, almost 6,000 coconut farmer-beneficiaries have received cash and food subsidy during the first and second tranche. “Dalawang tranche ‘yan, unang-una ‘yong cash and food, P3,000 cash and P2,000-worth of goods tapos ‘yong ni-request namin na for full monetization na 500,000, ang dini-distribute namin ngayon ay ‘yong full monetization,” he said. “Lahat ng programs, interventions na ipapalabas ng gobyerno natin through Philippine Coconut Authority, ang magiging beneficiaries natin ‘yan ay nakarehistro sa NCFRS natin. Kung coconut farmer ka pero hindi ka registered sa NCFRS ay malabo ka makatanggap ng mga programa ng PCA,” he explained further.
“Napakaimportante na registered tayo sa NCFRS kasi nakalagay naman sa batas kung ano ang mga program na maipatutupad,” he added.