Pres. Aquino’s first 100 days

DA chief ok’s IRR for Organic Agri law; congressional ‘approval’sought

ADVOCATES of organic farming on Thursday hailed the signing of the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) for Republic Act 10068 which is expected to boost the promotion and development of ecologically-sound food production practices in the Philippines.

Roland Cabigas, a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines said the crafting of the IRR , which was signed by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, significantly marks Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s first 100 days in office.

The final IRR for RA 10068 has been submitted by the Department of Agriculture to the agriculture committees of the Philippine Senate headed by Senator Francis Pangilinan and the House of Representatives headed by Batangas 4th District Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza last week.  The proposed IRR will be reviewed by the congressional oversight committee on agricultural and fisheries modernization.

Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza, a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines echoed Cabigas’ sentiment, saying it is considered a key reform achievement of the Aquino administration in promoting sustainable agriculture and food self-sufficiency for the country.

Branganza, concurrently the secretary general of the League of Cities of the Philippines, pioneered local government initiative in support of organic farming through allocation of funds and resource mobilization directed towards the promotion and development of organic agriculture in Alaminos City.

The IRR for RA 10068 is the first policy document under the Aquino administration that recognizes low carbon development path as a strategic framework in the promotion of Philippine agriculture, Braganza said.

For his part, Cabigas, managing director of La Liga added that the IRR  pushes for the promotion of organic agriculture as a framework and strategy that should guide the agricultural aspect of the new Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) currently being crafted by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for 2011-2016.

La Liga, a development policy research and advocacy nongovernment organization is a member of Go Organic! Philippines, which implemented the Organic FIELDS Support Program (OFSP) last year.  OFSP is a national program which aims to promote the shift from conventional to organic farming.

“The crafting of the IRR for RA 10068 is a clear demonstration of the new DA administration’s resolve to cause a shift from conventional farming to organic agriculture, Cabigas said.

La Liga was part of the technical working group composed of line agencies of different departments headed by DA and citizens’ groups that crafted and refined the IRR.

Republic Act 10068, otherwise known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, was signed into law on April 2010.

According to Cabigas, more importantly, the IRR aims to address the perennial problem confronting progressive legislation about the absence of funding support, by allocating at least 2% of the annual DA budget for organic agriculture programs and projects.

“This will ensure the sustainable development of organic agriculture through the automatic appropriations from the DA’s annual budget certain percent for organic farming,” Cabigas said.

Further, Cabigas said the IRR provides for a transition period for the equal application of first, second and third party certification for organic agricultural produce.

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