In a move seen as total rebuke on the Local Government Code which caused the implementation of devolution of functions, personnel and agencies to local government units, the Department of Agriculture (DA) could well be the first to rescind the policy.
The DA is set to enter into an agreement with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the estimated 30,000 farm technicians and extension workers to rejoin their former mother unit which is geared at boosting the nation’s food production and agricultural programs.
In a statement, Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said: “This is expected to happen very soon after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno, himself a former governor and real farmer, agreed to my proposal to enter into a tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DA and the local government units to re-assign the thousands of farm technicians and extension workers back to the Department of Agriculture as detailed workers.”
Previously, agriculture technicians and extension workers were DA employees until the devolution took effect upon the passage of the Local Government Code.
Pinol pointed out that their transfer paralyzed the DA and caused a great disconnect in the implementation of the department’s agriculture and fisheries programs because the technicians and extension workers were getting orders from the mayors and governors even as they do not have enough funds to ensure the technicians and extension workers would be able to perform their tasks.
He lamented that many of these agriculture workers stayed in their offices wearing crisp and dandy office uniforms, some of the women even wearing make-up and high-heels, instead of going to the fields. Some of them are assigned to do odd jobs like tax collectors, market supervisors and even security officers, jobs totally unrelated to agriculture.
Pinol said this situation is untenable as talents and skills are wasted.
The DA chief noted that he presented the idea during consultations in Bicol, Samar, Leyte and SOCKSARGEN regions and the proposal was roundly accepted by the LGU executives,
With this development the DA will shoulder the allowances, per diems and trainings of the agriculture workers. But of course they will receive directives and orders from the DA regional offices.