THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA) has created a task force on devolution in preparation for the transfer of responsibilities from the National Government to the local government units (LGUs).

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar signed Special Order No. 513 that created the Task Force on Further Devolution, which will set the guidelines ahead of the preparation of the DA’s Devolution Transition Plan. 

Mr. Dar said the task force will also coordinate with the various agencies and offices on behalf of the DA’s Committee for Devolution, created earlier under Special Order No. 432.

The task force is chaired by DA Field Operations Director Bernadette F. San Juan while DA Administrative Service Director Abraham P. Guiao will serve as co-chair.

Under the special order, the task force will also identify data and information requirements needed for the preparation of the transition plan; lay the groundwork for the creation of the transition plan such as the research framework, and data gathering; orient LGUs on research procedures; and organize workshops.

Recently, Mr. Dar said the DA will use the remainder of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s term to transition to the Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Systems (PAFES) to improve the distribution of assistance to farmers and fisherfolk.

He added that improving the delivery of extension services is in preparation for the Mandanas-Garcia ruling set to be implemented in January, which will give LGUs with a larger share of national taxes.

“PAFES would serve as the modality of implementing banner programs in the provinces. Under the system, we at the National Government will do the steering, while the LGUs will do the rowing,” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave