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PIA Press Release

PCARRD, CVCIRRD laud FITS launching in Siquijor

By Rizalie A. Calibo

Province (4 February) -- While employees in other sectors may have started to feel the effects of the global financial crisis, those in the agriculture sector will likely get a boost following the increase in number of Farmers Information Technology Service (FITS) centers all over the country.

Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) and Central Visayas Consortium for Integrated Regional Research and Development (CVCIRRD) officials recently lauded the establishment of FITS centers in all municipalities in the province through the Provincial FITS Consortium here.

He said the creation of FITS consortium makes coordination more effective and faster. The officials said that it is only in Siquijor province where 100% of its local government units (LGUs) have successfully established FITS centers.

PCARRD Asst. Director of the Technology Outreach Promotion Division, Dr. Arturo Arganosa said some 477 FITS centers nationwide were established in 2008, 86% of which where implemented by the LGUs.

Siquijor province has six FITS-LGU launched in December last year and another one at the Provincial Science and Technology Center managed by the Provincial FITS Consortium for a number of years now.

These centers already get the commitment of the PCARRD for funding, says Dr. Arganosa during the first CVCIRRD and FITS-Siquijor meeting held last week at the Siquijor State College here.

He said CVCIRDD is now processing the vouchers for the release of PCARDD's commitment to the FITS centers. Each center, he said has an allocation of P250,000 each for proposal-driven Science and Technology farm projects in each town based on the town's identified focused-commodity.

Arganosa said FITS center is a nerve of the Techno Gabay program that provides information and technology services on the following components: FITS Center ; Magsasaka Siyentista; Information and Communication Technology (ICT); and Information, Education and Communication (IEC).

The establishment FITS centers is part of the DOST-PCARRD's effort to shield farmers from global economic meltdown by increasing agricultural productivity and competitiveness.

The project is a collaborative effort among country's agencies to utilize information technology (IT) as a tool to fast-track the dissemination of agriculture and natural resources information and technologies to framers, upland dwellers, and rural entrepreneurs.

It must be noted that the government has been stepping up measures to mitigate the impact of the global economic meltdown on the country's workforce. In line with this, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has directed today the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to spearhead the "simple and not complicated" implementation of the programs for the displaced Filipino workers abroad.

The President arrived in Riyadh from Milan, Italy last night after attending the 2009 World Economic Forum (WFF) in Davos, Switzerland to check the working and living conditions of the more than one million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia The President said that the DOLE and the Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration (OWWA) will spearhead the implementation of the government programs for displaced expatriate Filipino workers.

The President also directed the DOLE and OWWA to coordinate with the agencies involved in the livelihood assistance programs of the government such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) She explained that the initial allocation of P1 billion will be allotted for livelihood support for displaced OFWs.

The fund will be sourced out from the OWWA and government lending institutions like the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Land Bank of the Philippines. (PIA) [top]

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