Press Release
August 31, 2020

Albay Gov recognizes Villar's role in province's agricultural transformation

Sen. Cynthia Villar's contribution to the agricultural development of the province of Albay was recognized by Gov. Al Francis Bichara.

"Today, many people have labelled the last three years 2017-2019 the start of the agricultural transformation of Albay. This is partly because of Villar's strong passion and determination which revolutionized agricultural development and improved the farmers and fisherfolks' way of life," Bichara said.

The governor said in 2017, Villar brought him along with other government officials to tour the best and most modern and state-of-the-art agricultural farm technologies in Israel. He said the trip inspired him "to innovate and adapt, to think global yet local."

Bichara said Albay Farmers' Bounty Village Farm Schools and Assessment Center was patterned after Israeli ingenuity but Filipino designed. Located in Camalig, Albay, it helps improve the lives of the Albayano food producers through entrepreneurship and farm enterprise capacity-building.

The project won for Bichara and the province a Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) National Kabalikat Award. The Kabalikat Award is the highest government award given to institutions and outstanding individuals who have invested and partnered with TESDA for human capital development.

For her part, Villar thanked Bichara for acknowledging her contribution to agricultural development.

"Rest assured, I will continue my work to improve the lives of our kababayans in the farming and fishing sectors with the cooperation of local government units," Villar said.

The chairperson of the Senate Committee of Agriculture and Food said agricultural development as a national goal is best achieved through LGUs. She filed Senate Bill 1138 or the Local Government Agriculture Development Act, which seeks to institutionalize a 10 percent budgetary allocation from LGU's internal revenue allotment for the implementation of programs for agriculture and fisheries.

"We need to strengthen local government participation in agriculture development by making sure programs for agriculture will be funded and consistently implemented whoever gets elected-- advocate man ng agriculture ang mayor or governor o hindi," Villar said.

"Just like how LGUs were required to allot a budget for Gender and Development Program, we want local agriculture development programs to be funded also," she added.

In January 2017, Villar was invited by Israeli Ambassador Effie Ben Matitayu for a working visit to Israel to introduce the various developmental projects and ideas in the agricultural sector. Aside from Bichara, local government officials from Misamis Oriental, La Union, Tarlac, South Cotabato, Leyte, Nueva Vizcaya, and Bataan were also part of the official delegation.

The itinerary of the 4-day official visit included the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, MASHAV (Israel's agency for international development and cooperation) Agricultural Traning Center in Shefayim, and a tour of the country's professional and modern agricultural farms. The delegation also had the chance to meet with Filipino on-the-job training students of agrostudies.

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