The Philippine Coconut Agency (PCA) Palawan is pushing to meet its target validation of 30,000 coconut farmers and registration under the National Coconut Farmers Registry System (NCFRS) as it continues nationwide after the deadline lapsed in June.
Arlo Solano, PCA Palawan Acting Division Chief, said Wednesday that the local agency recorded 10,000 validated and registered coconut farmers in NCFRS as of July.
Based on the figure of PCA, some 28,000 coconut farmers need to be validated from the 2017 NCFRS and around 2,000 new registration are expected.
“Nagkaroon kasi ng Senate committee hearing, maraming farmer leaders ang niri-request ngayon ay another 90 days extension. Sinuportahan naman ng senado pero wala pa naman sinabi ang top management na may extension o wala. Basta ang advise lang sa amin ituloy lang ang registration kasi hindi lang naman sa Palawan. Kahit sa ibang probinsiya ay hindi pa rin nila na-meet yong hundred percent na coconut farmers na marehistro,” Solano said.
“Marami kasi nagkakaantala, gaya ng halimbawa, documentary requirements. May kinalaman din ‘yong budget kasi limited din ‘yong budget sa survey kaya isa rin ‘yan sa niri-request ng management na pwede madagdagan ‘yong support. Isa rin ‘yan sa nakakaapekto kaya hindi rin kami nakakadagdag ng tao,” he added.
Due to lack of manpower, the PCA partners with municipal agriculturist offices, coconut farmers’ organizations, and even barangay officials to help farmers get registered in NCFRS.
The registration of coconut farmers under NCFRS is required under the Republic Act (RA) no. 11524 or Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act (CFITF).
Solano said PCA has reached 50 percent of NCFRS registration of farmers in southern Palawan and is still working to saturate the island and northern towns of the province. PCA has only staff managing the NCFRS registration in the north, which is a struggle on their part.
To address the limited manpower, the agency will conduct a mass registration in island towns to maximize their time, Solano said.
“Tuloy-tuloy ‘yan. Hindi kami tumitigil kasi kailangan na mairehistro talaga ang coconut farmers kasi sila ‘yong magiging beneficiary nitong RA 11524. Kapag na-implement ‘yan, kapag natapos na ‘yong lahat na hinihingi ng batas ay i-start ng implementation niyan, dapat tapos na ‘yong registry kasi sila ang makikinabang,” he explained.
Aside from the ongoing NCFRS registration, PCA will conduct an annual updating of the records in the system.
“Meron pa kaming programs and projects na ini-implement ngayong 2021. Hindi rin pwede na isantabi ‘yong isa kaya lahat ‘yan ay kinakamay para wala kaming mabitbit na hindi na-implement na programs,” he said.
Meanwhile, PCA distributed around 2, 317 reference codes to legitimate coconut farmers under the 2017 NCFRS. Each reference code is amounting to P2,000 which is part of the Cash and Food Subsidy for Marginalized Farmers and Fisherfolk (CFSMFF) under Bayanihan 2 act.
“Ito ‘yong tinatawag natin na cash and food subsidy for marginalized and farmers and fisherfolk. Ngayon kasama diyan ang coconut farmers. Minsanan lang ‘yan kung ikaw ay na-identify na maging beneficiary ng programa na ito. One time lang kasi ang identification natin na ang beneficiary ay ‘yong registered sa old NCFRS,” he added.