Senator Cynthia Villar and DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala lead the distribution of goats and other agricultural interventions during one of their sorties in the region. Also in photo is DA-8 Regional Executive Director Bernadette F. San Juan (leftmost).

TACLOBAN CITY- Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala will lead a week-long commemoration of the first year anniversary of supertyphoon Yolanda that barreled Eastern Visayas. The Agriculture Secretary will be joined by Senator Cynthia Villar who chairs the committee on agriculture at the Senate during the November 4 to 7 events. The department will observe the anniversary of the world’s deadliest typhoon carrying the theme “Building Back Better Farming & Fishing Communities in Region 8.”  Right after the region was devastated by Yolanda, both Sen. Villar and Sec. Alcala made quick visits to areas hit by Yolanda and initiated the distribution of agricultural inputs to affected farmers and fisherfolks in the region.

During the opening program on November 4, 2014 at the Eastern Visayas State University Inner Court, Sen. Villar and Sec.Alcala will lead the turnover of interventions to the badly-hit cities/municipalities under the rehabilitation program of DA-8 known as UMA-AHON Initiative. This promotes viable commodities for the development of agri-enterprises. The items for turnover include farm equipment, garden tools, rice, corn and veggie seeds, fertilizers, abaca tissue cultured plantlets and marine engines, among others.

They will also hand-over tokens to the local and international NGOs and other organizations in recognition of their efforts and contributions in the rehabilitation of the agriculture sector in the region. Both Sen. Villar and Sec. Alcala will also meet the local and national media for a press conference. DA-8 will likewise conduct a poster making contest which will be participated in by farmers from badly-hit areas.
Another highlight is the mini-farmers’ market or Tabo at EVSU, Tacloban City and DA-RFO 8 Grounds. Other activities include investment fora for corn and goat, food processing and cooking demo and farmers’ forum spearheaded by the Regional Agriculture & Fishery Council.

Meantime, on November 6, 2014, DA-8 will underscore the role of women in farming through a Rural Women’s Summit with topics on integrated farming system, women agripreneurs and organic farming.
Post-disaster assessment topics and lessons learned from the typhoon will be emphasized in the Seminar Series on November 7, 2014. Capping the week-long event is a prayer walk which will serve as a tribute to the victims of the typhoon. An Ahon Concert with famous Filipino folk singer and composer Noel Cabangon will also be sponsored by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-8 (BFAR-8) at the Robinson’s Place Tacloban. (Francis Rosaroso)