DA targets unprecedented 1.2 to 1.3 million hectares of hybrid rice area for 2022 after several years of lull

October 28, 2021

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has targeted a hybrid rice area of an unprecedented 1.2 to 1.3 million hectares for crop year 2022 after a lull in hybrid planting as it aims to beef up food security amid the continuing Covid 19 pandemic.

   At least 700 hectares of hybrid rice are being readied for the bumper dry season of 2022. That leaves around 500 to 600 hectares for the less anticipated rainy season, but still a big area compared to previous years.

   “For our third year now, we have aggressively pursued hybrid rice planting.  That is the reason why we have been able to attain the highest level of rice production this year. With hybrid rice, you’re sure to automatically harvest an additional 1.52 metric tons per hectare versus inbred,” said Dr. Frisco M. Malabanan, DA rice program consultant.

   The Philippines posted a record rice harvest of 19.44 million MT in 2020 from 18.81 million MT in 2019.

   Yet, the DA budget for the food security program for 2022 has yet to be assured for the hybrid rice program to sustain.

   “The budget of DA for food security has yet to be approved. It’s still being discussed in the Senate,” said Malabanan.


Hybrid rice gives higher yield and net income. Credit– Pinoyrice

  Private seed growers have committed to supply DA the needed hybrid rice seeds. They are readying the rice area particularly involving DA’s rice clustering program. 

   The clustering program consolidates a hybrid rice area of at least 100 hectares  particularly in 15 priority provinces.

   “We assure government of our support for this public partnership program.  It will be the key to our goal for food sufficiency and food security,” said Rice Board President Recher Ondap.

   “We hope to be assured of the government’s budget allocation as many farmers have started land preparation for the dry season 2022.  Budgetary support should not only be for this rice clustering program but for the entire food sufficiency and resiliency program.”

   Out of the 15 priority provinces, five provinces already have identified locations.  These top five provinces are Bukidnon, Bicol, Nueva Ecija, Isabela, and Ilocos.

   DA has been successful in restoring the hybrid rice program after DA secured a budget for this in the last two years.

   “Secretary (William) Dar has been supported by the economic managers in the budget for hybrid rice.  Prior to this, our hybrid rice area was only at around 300,000 to 400,000 hectares,” Malabanan said.

   Under the hybrid rice program, DA allocated a seed subsidy of P5,000 per hectare.  This is with a fertilizer support of three vouchers per farmer equivalent to P1,000 per voucher.

   But these are not the only things needed for the DA rice program to take off. The programs on irrigation, fertilization, mechanization also have to be funded.

   DA also has a separate program for certified rice seeds under RCEP (Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.

   DA envisions the Rice Clustering Program to be  a banner program for achieving a highly competitive status in rice sector.

   The Rice Clustering Program will be a model of best practices focused initially in the 15 priority provinces.  However, the model can be replicated in all of Philippines’ regions.

   The clustered area will be a model for the use of high yielding seeds, balanced fertilization, adequate irrigation, use of modern machines for land preparation and post harvest, availability of credit,  use of technology for various cultural practices, and market linkage.

   The clustered areas will no longer just be technology demonstration (techno-demo) or trial areas but will be sustaining commercial farms.

   The Rice Board has long been supporting DA’s hybrid rice program. In particular,

   Rice board’s private seed growers have consistently participated in the yearly National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF).  It is a competition for the highest rice yield administered by DA and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice).

  A total of 13 techno-demo trials had been carried out by the DA. local government units, and private sector under the NRTF in the last seven years as an effort to transfer hybrid rice technology to farmers. 

   The last one was held in Leyte.  Report on the trials came out last October 12, 2021.

   Under DA’s Memo Circular (MC) No. 11  issued June 2, 2021, these clustered hybrid rice farms should produce at least one metric ton (MT) higher yield than certified inbred seeds.  Or yield should be equivalent to at least 5 MT per hectare.

   The seed companies also provide the needed technical support to farmers and guide them on the proper management of their varieties.

   “The Rice Board adheres to this provision,” Ondap said. “In fact, seed companies are employing more technical people to better facilitate the transfer of hybrid rice technology to farmers.”

   As they are expected to churn out high yield, these hybrid rice farms should raise the country’s food self sufficiency. They should reduce rice imports now reaching to some two million MT yearly.  This program should also reduce production cost and increase the income of rice farmers.

   “Any country in the world, if it can produce its staple locally, it would do it because it’s difficult to be depending on the world market for your staple’s supply,” Malabanan said. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

DENR pushes for creation of mini bamboo forests in Ph’s 1,500 cities, towns; to export bamboo-based lumber

October 22, 2021

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is pushing for the creation of mini “bamboo forests” in all of Philippines’ more than 1,500 cities and municipalities in an aim to create a nature-friendly, export-oriented bamboo lumber industry.

   In a courtesy meeting made by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).Country Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Cimatu said Philippines and UNDP can have a collaboration in the establishment of “community-based mini forest, bamboo plantation, urban forestry” project.

Sturdy and beautiful bamboo. Credit- LLDA

   Secretary Cimatu specifically requested UNDP if it can possibly design assistance for localities (not within DENR areas) to put up bamboo nurseries. All municipalities can have their “mini-forests”.

   Ramachandran made the courtesy call to the DENR secretary together with Edwine Carrie as UNDP’s deputy resident representative and Ms. Floradema Eleazar UNDP Team leader.

   Ramachandran said UNDP has received the same request for support for bamboo plantation establishment during his visits to Albay and Cagayan provinces.

   He also informed the DENR secretary that Vietnam has a thriving bamboo lumber industry– being a major exporter of bamboo to Canada. 

   Despite Vietnam’s reported huge bamboo export to Canada, the Philippines has the same opportunities in bamboo products.  This is considering the humongous $14 to $15 billion global bamboo trade, according to Agrideco Vietnam.

.     Bamboo has both the potential to create a profitable industry and to be a tool for controlling soil erosion and sequestering pollutant carbon dioxide (CO2).

   Bamboo prevents soil erosion to which riverbank communities have been predisposed to danger. 

   A hectare of bamboo retains 30,000 liter of water during rainy season.   Bamboo absorbs huge amount of pollutant CO2. A hectare of bamboo sequesters 12 tons of CO2.

   Bamboo plants are excellent cover for vegetating riverbanks to protect these from erosion.   These have a root system called “rhizomatous” and come in clumps.  This rooting system helps keep soil together.

  Another species used in riverbanks is the Iron bamboo Guada angustifolia .  It also grows on hilly grounds.

   The National Greening Program (NGP) listed bamboo as among the preferred species for reforestation.  Bamboo will help boost supply for food, products (timber, fiber, non-timber forest products), services, and provide aesthetic value to the environment. 

Philippines just like Vietnam can export high quality bamboo products. Credit–Agrideco Vietnam

    Bamboo, kawayan in Filipino, has been considered an excellent substitute for many raw materials in different industries. Its charcoal is used as organic fertilizer. Its tall, erect stems and petiolate leaf blades make for good ornamental plants. The specific specie is Arundia pygmae.  It decors the environment well with bonsai . 

   During UNDP’s courtesy call, possible future collaboration has been discussed on the following:

1.       The Small Grants Program of the Global Environment Facility (GEF-SGP);

2.      Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Climate Finance;

3.      Circular Economy, Plastics, and Marine Litter; and

4.      Resiliency and adaptation projects on landslide/flood prone areas, and capacity building of local government units (LGUs) on Environment and Natural Resources (ENR). (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Rice Board supports DA’s clustering program for 100 hectares of hybrid rice land in 15 provinces, presses for budget assurance

October 21, 2021

The private sector-led Rice Board has expressed support for the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) clustering program that consolidates at least 100 hectares of hybrid rice land in 15  provinces even as it pressed for an assurance of the DA national budget for food sufficiency program.

    The Public Private Partnership (PPP) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) will be supported by the Rice Board as the program requires the supply of high-yielding hybrid seeds.

   “We assure government of our support for this public partnership program.  It will be the key to our goal for food sufficiency and food security,” said Rice Board President Recher Ondap.

   “We hope to be assured of the government’s budget allocation as many farmers have started land preparation for the dry season 2022.  Budgetary support should not only be for this rice clustering program but for the entire food sufficiency and resiliency program.”

   Locations for five provinces out of the 15 priority provinces have already been identified. These rice farms are found in Bukidnon, Bicol, Nueva Ecija, Isabela, and Ilocos.

   The consolidated farms in 15 provinces will become a more permanent technology demonstration (techno-demo) site. 

   These hybrid rice clusters will also become regular commercial farms season after season.

   Techno-demo trials being held by government and the private sector under the National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF) are temporary. 

   The NRTF involves just one province with 100 hectares per season where the best of Philippines’ rice seed technologies are being demonstrated.

   A total of 13 techno-demo trials had been carried out by the DA. local government units, and private sector under the NRTF in the last seven years as an effort to transfer hybrid rice technology to farmers. 

   The last one was held in Leyte.  Report on the trials came out last October 12, 2021.

   Under DA’s Memo Circular (MC) No. 11  issued June 2, 2021, these clustered hybrid rice farms should produce at least one metric ton (MT) higher yield than certified inbred seeds.  Or yield should be equivalent to at least 5 MT per hectare.

   “Within the 15 provinces selected for hybrid rice planting and in the selected areas outside the 15 provinces, focus (should be) on areas where our last two field reports have indicated that hybrid rice has a yield advantage of 1 ton over the certified inbred seed and an average yield of 5 tons per hectare,” MC 11 said.

   Yield of the field reports is based on the harvest of 2020 Wet Season and 2021 Dry Season.

   DA and its attached Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRICE) used to provide subsidy for hybrid rice seed production and commercialization.

   Still, DA affirmed the private sector’s role in assuring hybrid rice seed supply for the rice productivity program to succeed.

   “The private seed companies’ role is recognized as crucial in attaining the hybrid varieties’ optimum performances and attainable yield. The companies can provide the needed technical support to farmers and guide them on the proper management of their varieties following the clustering approach, “ MC 11 noted.

   The Rice Board adheres to this provision, Ondap said. In fact, seed companies are employing more technical people to better facilitate the transfer of hybrid rice technology to farmers.

   As they are expected to churn out high yield, these farms should raise the country’s food self sufficiency.  This program should also reduce production cost and increase the income of rice farmers.

   Aside from the use of high-yielding hybrid seeds and crop protection products, these clustered rice farms will also demonstrate other farming technologies.

   These include best cultural practices, irrigation technology, use of machinery and drones for aerial seeding, pest/disease and nutrient management.

   Present hybrid rice area in the Philippines is placed at around one million hectares.  Of this, 600,000 hectares were under the DA’s hybridization program. The remaining areas  were put up under efforts of the private sector . 

   Any expansion is foreseen to significantly reduce imports of around two million MT yearly . (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

New genetically modified hybrid corn gives stable yield with additional 1.7 MT per hectare; farmers to net as much as P70,000 per hectare

October 19, 2021

A new corn hybrid with superior performance that can yield an additional 1.7 metric tons (MT) per hectare has been released by Bayer CropScience Philippines Inc.

   Called Dekalb 8282S, it has shown reliable performance in both wet and dry seasons with strong resistance to a wide variety of pests, protecting potential yield that can bring Filipino farmers an estimated net income of as much as P70,000 per hectare.

Two modes of action that kill four highly destructive pests

   Given recent challenges in local corn production and high demand from the feeds industry, the new hybrid can help farmers increase their production and match those demand.

   “We’ve called it a ‘blockbuster’ hybrid because we have that much faith in this new hybrid. It will be a big help to our farmers in the corn business and they can be assured of the high quality that has always been associated with the Dekalb brand” says Iiinas Ivan Lao, Country Commercial Lead of Bayer CropScience (BCS) Philippines during the online launch at the BCS Philippines Facebook page.

   “The corn market in the Philippines is continuously evolving. Year on year, farmer demands change, price fluctuations, drought or heavy rains contribute to farmers’ unstable production. This is why Bayer is launching Dekalb 8282S in the Philippines,” Erwin Vibal, Grower Marketing Head at BCS.

Dekalb 8282S gives additional yield of 1.7 metric tons per hectare versus other hybrids

   “We want farmers to have a stable, reliable product that they can count on to perform despite difficult market and weather conditions and infestations – and Dekalb has a hybrid that provides that protection from risks and losses in corn production.”

   Potential to earn higher than average yield

   Achieving full maturity at 110 days, Dekalb 8282S has a relatively high shelling recovery at 84% which is higher than the 72% of other hybrids.

   It is also capable of yielding up to of 6.2 to 8 MT per hectare, which is an increase of 1.7 MT per hectare compared to the Philippines’ national corn average yield of 4.5 to 5 MT per hectare.    

   Given a conservative price of P15 per kilo at farm gate, farmers can earn a gross revenue of P120,000. This is equivalent to P50,000 to P70,000 net income given cost of P50,000 and yield of 8 MT per hectare.

Dekalb8282S has high shelling recovery of 84% compared to 72% in other hybrids

   This is true to farmers who follow experts’ recommendations including their adaption to recommended agronomic practices such as the ideal planting population of 80,000 to 90,000 plants per hectare.

   Strong resistance to FAW, variety of pests Dekalb 8282S also has strong resistance to the highly destructive Fall Army Worm (FAW) which has infested corn farms across the Philippines.

   It is the only corn seed in the market that has full approval for FAW-resistance from the Fertilizer and Pest Authority (FPA).

   “Fall Army Worm is very destructive because it is not selective. It does not only attack for one cycle. But it can attack two or three times over seasons,” said Vibal.

   The hybrid can also resist other highly destructive pests such as the Asiatic Corn Borer, Common Cutworm, and Earworm.

   Field trials showed that the corn variety has 46% less damaged kernels versus other varieties due to its VT DoublePro which has two modes of action in killing pests.

   Ready for rain or drought

   Another notable trait of Dekalb 8282S is its durability in either rainy or drought periods as evidenced by its stable high yield whether in drought-prone Isabela or the rain-rich farms in Pangasinan.

   “Whether it’s dry season or wet season, farmers have 88% winning chance in using Dekalb 8282S—whether it’s corn after rice planting or corn after corn,” said Vibal.

   “Not all hybrids have that trait. We strive to bring new technologies to farmers. Our vision is ‘Health for All, Hunger for None,’” said Vibal. “It’s not only for business, but we want to address hunger and the food security crisis by offering technologies. It’s not enough for  farmers to earn. We want them to prosper. We want to take them to a different dimension, to the next level.”

Dekalb 8282S gives an additional 1.7 metric tons per hectare versus other hybrids

   New interactive, digital experience for farmers Aside from the new hybrid, Bayer CropScience Philippines also introduced the DEKALB 360 Virtual Bayer Learning Center featuring Dekalb 8282S. This interactive virtual experience brings the Bayer Learning Center to life online which farmers can explore and learn from while in the safety of their homes. They can watch yield and grain quality tests and listen to experts and farmer feedback about the new Dekalb hybrid. It can be accessed via any Internet browser on any device or via their smartphone which can also be complemented with a clip-on VR device. For more information, follow the Bayer CropScience Philippines and Dekalb Philippines Facebook pages. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Online loyalty portal and ordering platform gives farmers digital farming advantage

October 14, 2021

Filipino farmers who want easier access to agricultural  supplies can now place orders online and earn rewards via a website called “myAgroLink”. 

   Launched by Bayer CropScience Philippines Inc. (BCS), “myAgroLink” is an online ordering platform and  loyalty portal that enables farmers to place an order for a variety of agricultural supplies.  That is whether  for high-yielding seeds or crop protection products, it can now be done all from the comfort of his home. 

   “At Bayer, we continue to research and develop ways to help our agricultural community. In this  digital age, we’re looking at what we can do to help make farming easier.  In a  pandemic where movement is limited, this can help ensure the continuity of farming activities to  secure food production and supply” said Erwin Vibal, Grower Marketing Head at Bayer  CropScience Philippines.

   Through myAgroLink, farmers can choose their dealer or distributor of choice to place their order  which can be paid and picked up at the store.

myAGroLink online ordering platform helps in continuity of countryside farming amid pandemic

   It’s also a rewards system for loyal customers who can earn points from their purchases and instantly claim those points to get a prize.

   “What’s good  about the reward system is that it’s an instant reward. You get points that can be claimed as  vouchers for mobile load, SM, Jollibee, Puregold, 7-11 and other establishments once you place  your order” said Aaron N. Cano, BCS New Business Activation Head.

   Bayer is targeting that a majority of the 3,000 plus dealer networks for agricultural inputs be  registered on the platform to serve farmers.

   “We are convincing more dealers to sign-up and  register to serve farmers’ orders” said Cano.          

  “The farmer places his order on myAgroLink, and the  dealer is notified of this order. Both farmer and dealer earn loyalty points once the purchase is validated.”

   Dealers nationwide are likewise expected to be linked to networks and they can also  register to become a dealer of choice for farmers.

Accessible, adaptable platform for Filipino farmers

   There’s also no need to download a specific app since myAgrolink can be accessed via Android  or iOS smartphones through any mobile browser, or via any laptop or PC that has Google  Chrome, Firefox, or equivalent web browsers while connected to the Internet.

How to claim reward from using myAgroLink online ordering platform

   Considering the growing trend of farming communities connected to the internet via smartphones  and other devices, there’s potential for the platform to take off.

   “We’re going there (full internet  connectivity). We want to introduce myAgroLink while farmers are getting connected to the  internet and see how we can improve as we get feedback from farmers on what is important to  them” said Cano.

   “This pilot program will help us to determine the acceptance and user  experience. We want to have a system that is relatable, easy to use and meaningful, not just any  off-the-rack solution that is available. We want myAgroLink adapted to the Philippine condition.”

   To explore myAgroLink, visit their website at https://ph.ecom.myagrolink.net/ and reach their  support chat via 0926-653-2733 or 09685452264. For more information, check out the Bayer  CropScience Philippines Facebook Page and watch their Facebook Live event recording of the  online launch. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Corn farmers asked to defer low tariff corn implementation, incurs P10 billion revenue loss from low corn price of P8-10 per kilo

October 13, 2021

Corn farmers have asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to defer implementation of lower tariff on corn imports as this will be a “death sentence” to farmers given the prevailing low price of corn, bringing revenue loss of P10 billion.
House Resolution 2289 has been filed by Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez with the pleadings of the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (Philmaize) and the United Broilers and Raisers Association (UBRA).
The resolution was directed too as a petition to the National Economic Development Authority and the Tariff Commission.
“The abundance of production did not increase the income of farmers which shows the ‘incompetence of the DA in promoting and managing our own agricultural resources’,” according to the House Resolution.
Corn tariff is now low at 5% if importation is within the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA). It is slapped with a 35% duty within Minimum Access Volume (MAV) importation and 50% outside MAV.
DA just created a Technical Working Group to study lowering of corn import duties in order to bring down animal feeds and livestock and poultry prices.
Philmaize has debunked the assumption that feed prices will go down given lower corn price (consequently pulling down livestock and poultry price).
“Philmaize stated that these corn prices do not have direct and immediate correlation to the decrease of feeds and meat price. In the last two years, corn price plunged to P8-9 per kilo, but there was no reduction in the price of feed and meat.”
Rather, it is the huge importation of feed wheat and corn that caused the fall in local con price to its lowest level. This is based on a study of the Philippine Competition Commission, Philmaize cited.
Philmaize attributes the fall of local corn price to the “uncontrolled, unabated and uncalibrated large arrivals of feed wheat and imported corn during the wet season harvest. This displaced local corn harvest from getting into warehouses and silos of livestock and feed mill sector.”
Corn price plunged by a hefty 33% to P8-9 per kilo, far below the P13.25 per kilo support price established by the National Food Authority (NFA).
The economic loss at P10 billion in revenue experienced by farmers was exarcerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic.
Rodriguez said UBRA President Jose Elias Inciong also stressed that the price of poultry and livestock are “not dependent on the rate of corn tariffs but on the highly in-demand dynamics of the commodities.”
Moreover, even the Bayanihan sa Agrikultura admitted a low import duty on corn does not guarantee significant reduction in the price of livestock and poultry.
The resolution cited the Magna Carta for Small Farmers in invoking the low corn tariff, saying it is the state’s role to assure “equitable distribution of benefits and opportunities realized through empowerment of small farmers.”
“The state should recognize the need to keep our local farmers motivated, encourage them to continue planting, and keep their production stable by implementing a more strategic approach to balance enterprise resource planning,” according to the resolution. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

DENR adopts National Plan of Action for prevention and reduction of marine litter toward “zero waste” Philippine waters by 2040

November 8, 2021

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has adopted a National Plan of Action for the prevention and reduction of marine litter (NPOA-ML) toward “zero waste” Philippine waters by 2040.

   DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones said the adoption of the NPOA-ML through Memorandum Circular (MC) 2021-10 will serve as guidance to enhance efforts in resource and waste management in the country’s waterways and marine environment. 

   Considering that marine life and biodiversity can only well survive within clean waters, the implementation of MO 2021-10 has become critical for Philippines, being a country of many islands.

   “This initiative is timely as the country has been named by external studies as one of the main sources of plastic leakages into oceans.  It also presents opportunities to revisit current efforts in municipal solid waste management, particularly reduce-reuse-recycle or 3Rs approaches, and eventually help localize the NPOA-ML,” he said.

Innovative solutions to marine litter reduction. Credit- Nature

   Leones took note of MO 2021-10 as the globe celebrates World Habitat Day in the first week of October.  It is a reminder to each citizen and local government units (LGU) of their contribution to waste management, climate change mitigation and sustainable development goals.     

   The World Habitat Day  is supported by the Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative (HOCCI). It is funded by Japan government to enable local governments to strengthen capacity to  implement  reduction of marine litter. The Philippines heads the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) of the HOCCI.

   “This will bring the focus of marine litter to marine management and biodiversity issues,” Leones said.

Sources of marine litter. Credit- Surfer Today

   He also took note of the ratification of the Philippine Green Jobs Act (Republic Act 10771) which promotes a green economy. It provides “incentives to enterprises that provide green goods and services, green jobs, green technologies and sustainable development.”

   Green jobs refer to employment that restores the environment’s clean quality especially in the agriculture, service, and industry sectors.  Examples are jobs in water conservation, sustainable forestry, biofuels, geothermal energy, environmental remediation, energy audit, recycling, electric vehicles, solar power, and wind energy.

   It is also important that the Philippines adopts programs on climate change mitigation and adaptation since it is one of the world’s climate vulnerable countries, Leones said. Disaster risk reduction is a very important goal for the country.  It is plagued with around 20 tropical cyclones yearly and daily seismic tremors being in the Pacific Ring of Fire. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Tackling marine debris. Credit- National Academies Press

DENR partners with German economic agency for security of land tenure in Mindanao to encourage investments, economic development

October 3, 2021

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has entered into a partnership with The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development towards achieving the sixth of the 10 Socio-Economic Agenda that ensures security of land tenure, encourage investments, and address bottlenecks in land titling.

   This DENR project is also part of the  “Ambisyon Natin 2040.”  It is a 25-year visioning led by the National Economic Development Authority that seeks Filipinos’ enjoyment of  a“strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life.” 

   The sixth of the 10 Socio-Economic Agenda states that government’s aim is to “ensure security of land tenure to encourage investments and address bottlenecks in land management and titling.”

   The project titled “Responsible Land Governance in Mindanao” aims to orient local governments and communities including indigenous cultural communities in Misamis Oriental (Region 10), Davao del Sur (Region 11), and Agusan del Sur (Region 13-CARAGA) on management of public lands. 

   The effective management of lands is believed to have ripple effect– benefitting the economy as government taxation process also becomes effective. 

   Moreover, investors needing land may find it easier to invest with better land identification and titling processes.

GIZ Conflict Sensitive Resource & Asset Management Project Achievements

   The vision takes into consideration sustainability and conflict sensitivity among ethnic groups and indigenous people on effective land management.

   To date, a study on the Land Sector Development Framework (LSDF) was conducted. 

   It is a 10-year roadmap for the land sector for effective administration that will usher Philippines to economic development.

   “This shall provide direction towards the achievement of a highly efficient and effective land sector whose potential is so great to contribute in the economic growth of our country,” according to the Land Management Bureau.

GIZ Conflict Sensitive Resource & Asset Management Project Achievements

   The project also aims to support mitigation of conflicts within selected areas in Mindanao.     

   A study on the operations of the DAR-DENR-LRA-NCIP Joint Administrative Order No. 1 in Regions 10 and 13-CARAGA was conducted to determine if joint committees are functioning on the ground.

   The JAO (Joint Administrative Order) clarifies and restates the functions of each land titling agency. 

   It provides guidelines in resolving land conflicts in both the national and regional level.

   Functions of these various land agencies used to overlap with each other, creating conflict or confusion.  The JAO resolves this problem even as there are instances when various land uses conflict with each other. For instance, mining areas may overlap within ancestral domain or Indigenous People’s lands.

Land use mapping using unmanned aerial vehicle (AUV) in Bgy. Kapatagan, Digos City, Davao del Sur

.  DAR stands for Department of Agrarian Reform, LRA for the Land Registration Authority, and the NCIP for National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. 

   Laws and policies also serve as an enabling environment for responsible land administration and management.

   RLGM initiated studies to clarify the definition of terms and frequently asked questions for lands, and review land-related laws and policies on tenure.

   Partner agencies and local government units were re-oriented on national policies such as the enhanced Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) guidelines.  GIS (Geographic Information Service)  application for land titling is also being explored. 

   The project also offered capacity building activities to LGUs in using Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAV) for land use planning.

Aerial view of a geographic area that helps determine land uses

   Future activities are being eyed as potential activities for the project.

   The DENR is proposing a review of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and a unified map to identify existing tenurial (land titling) instruments.

   The unified map would make it easier for national and local government units to access data to carry out their own mandates. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Philippines’ population to grow at a slower pace to 110.881 million in 2021, Family Planning and contraceptives remain imperative to economic growth

October 3, 2021

The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) noted that Philippines’ population will grow in 2021— at a slower pace though—as the number is projected to reach  110,881,756..

   The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) latest Census of Population announced the country’s population in 2020 at 109,035,906.

  “Despite the rise in absolute numbers, the population grew gradually to 1.31% by the start of 2021,” POPCOM reported. 

   In comparison over the last decade, Philippines traditionally posted a 2.3% population growth pe

   However, this remains to highlight the need  to empower women to take control of their health and make their own choices on family planning and contraception in the digital age amidst challenges due COVID-19.

   During the World Contraception Day online event last September 23 by the Department of Health (DOH), POPCOM and Bayer Philippines, Inc, POPCOM highlighted the impact of the pandemic on access to  contraception and family planning, particularly for adolescents.

   “Worldwide, the COVID-19 outbreak has significantly impaired access  to and awareness of the far-reaching benefits of contraception. It’s essential that we continue to support self-determined family planning and make contraceptives more accessible to a greater number of Filipinos,”said POPCOM Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III.

   “During this pandemic, our plans for our families, led by mothers who are minors or teenagers, can be easily compromised by this health emergency,” Perez said.

   Angel-Michael Evangelista, managing director and Pharmaceuticals head  of Bayer Philippines, Inc., said Bayer has intensified its commitment to providing unbiased, accurate, and  trusted information about contraceptive methods.

   “In 2019, we launched the Ask Mara automated chat via Facebook where you can know more about pregnancy, the pill and other contraceptive methods,” Evangelista said.

  “Educating and enabling women, especially adolescents, to make more informed choices on contraception helps improve their quality of life and economic capability. Together with our partners, I’m sure we can contribute to enhancing young women’s knowledge about the different contraceptive choices and importance of family planning.”

Slower population growth in NCR

   The foreseen slower population growth is attributable to government’s having stepped up efforts to reverse the adverse effect of the Covid 19 pandemic. Thus, in 2020, Metro Manila registered significant gains for having had among the lowest population growth of only 0.97% in the last five years. 

    POPCOM reported a favourable development that many Filipino women in Metro Manila (National Capital Region) now opt for smaller families. 

   It resulted from lower fertility rate, POPCOM disclosed.  Sizes of families are trending lower at 4 members, POPCOM reported. That is compared to family size of at least 7 members in previous years.

Women’s reasons for using birth control methods. Credit-Guttmacher

Supporting women in the Philippines and across Asia Pacific

   Recognizing the urgent need for more dedicated work to secure continuity of access to healthcare, Bayer convened an Asia Pacific virtual roundtable last September 24, 2021 titled

#TakeControl: Shaping Digital Health for Women in the COVID Decade.

   The virtual event gathered healthcare professionals, policymakers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), telehealth providers, industry associations, and digital influencers and underlined their commitment to support women in taking control of their health.

   Comprised of 3 distinct expert panels, the virtual roundtable also marks the 15th anniversary of

World Contraception Day with 15 key partners.  Among these are the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Pathfinder International, POPCOM,  Indonesia Midwives Association, Taiwan Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology (TAOG), DOC2US, Malaysian Pharmacists Society and Reach52.

   The first expert panel “No Woman Left Behind: COVID-19 and Unplanned Pregnancies” drew

attention to the urgent impact of COVID-19 on women’s access to healthcare and family planning resources and the burden of unplanned pregnancies.

   “With a third of the country affected, health services for the women of reproductive age have been reduced.  One-third of our women have had to take difficult transportation means to get to health services” said Perez.

   He also stressed that “the most important problem women experienced in the middle of the pandemic is unplanned pregnancies ranging from teen pregnancies to pregnancies among the general population.”

    “Women today in the Philippines are also concerned about violence during the period of pandemic– emotional, physical, sexual violence.”

   Movement restrictions (lockdowns) have driven women to go online for more information on healthcare and family planning. However, misconceptions and cultural and social stigma are still challenges within these topics.

   The second expert panel “Step Into Her World: Engaging to Empower Online” discussed key drivers of misinformation on family planning and contraception online, the need for credible voices on popular platforms, and the importance of sustained dialogue.

   “A lot of women in the Philippines are going online now. I’ve seen a shift in attitude and demand for more doctors to also be online. What’s sad is that many women are online, but not the doctors,” said Dr. Michelle Dado, OBGYN and president of Quezon City Medical Society District IV.

   “Education is the only way to encourage healthcare professionals to become more digitally savvy and translate what they do in a face-to-face consultation onto an online platform. This will help to break the endless cycle of misinformation online that may in turn lead to many young women making misinformed contraceptive choices.”

   The pandemic has also accelerated healthcare digitization on an unprecedented scale.

   Experts on the third concluding panel “The New Phygital: Innovating Expanded Access to Women’s Health” shed light on how technology has been a critical enabler in the recovery and  resilience of today’s health systems.

   At the conclusion of the virtual roundtable, all 16 panelists collectively pledged to renew their

commitment to empower women to take control of their health and lives despite the pandemic.

   They also called for wider public support to join in the pledge and give voice to women’s health needs and empowerment.

   Across Asia Pacific, Bayer has been collaborating with governments and organizations to introduce initiatives that promote greater contraception awareness and education.

   The partnerships are with the BKKBN in Indonesia, POPCOM in the Philippines, Department of Health’s Bureau of Reproductive Health in Thailand, and the Family Planning and Women’s Union (FPWU) and Government Office of Family Planning (GOPFP) in Vietnam. For more information on contraception awareness and education, please visit https://www.your-life.com.