DTI brings gov’t services to the boondocks PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 June 2014 11:32

Rugged roads and terror threats are not obstacles for those who are intent of making their lives and work count in areas needful of government attention and support.

Thus, in response to the President’s rallying call for inclusive growth to reach all Filipinos, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) blazed new trails, so to speak, in areas heretofore, it or other national government agencies have ever reached.

Through its flagship project, the Shared Service Facility (SSF), groups of farmers, fisher folks, and MSMEs were given the much-needed tools, equipment and machinery; deliver these equipment right at their doorsteps; then capacitate them with all the needed trainings, and after that help them in marketing their products - all at no cost to the association, but only with the pledge that they take care of the equipment, make full use of them so that they and their children may be able to live better lives in the now and in the future.

Just in the past few months according to Dr. Sitti Amina M. Jain, DTI-9 Director, her office was able to turn over 23 SSFs, including those that were delivered to the Babami Coop in Barangay Sto. Nino in Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte.

“The trail going there is unbelievably arduous, even grievously dangerous. Yet the place hold so much promise for abaca and rubber plantation development and as an alternative source of high value veggies for Zamboanga City,” Dr. Jain said.

“And just a few days ago, we turned over two sets of abaca processing machines – one for SARBEMCO, an agrarian reform cooperative (ARC) in Sulo, Naga, ZamboangaSibugay and another in ARBEMCO, an ARC located in Marcelo, Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte,” Dr. Jain added.

She disclosed that both ARCs are located kilometers away from the national highway and whose trails are in a very sad state of disrepair. If only, she said, that farm-to-market roads are part of the SSF project, then she wouldn’t think twice of approving such projects for the sake of the farmers in those areas. “You can never fully appreciate nor empathize with the plight of our producers in the field until you have been there yourself,” Dr. Jain said.

The abaca processing equipment turned over to SARBEMCO and ARBEMCO, according to Dr. Jain cost P785,000 per set and consisted of five mechanized abaca spindle stripping machines,as well as a set of twining and rope-making machines.

Dr. Jain further said that more SSF project proposals are being  evaluated or are ready for implementation, even now. “It doesn’t matter if the project is to be located in the heart of town or in the middle of nowhere so long as it will accomplish its purpose, then trust us that we will deliver it there. I myself, have been to many of those places and I will continue to do so for as long as God grants me the strength and the opportunity of doing so, Dr. Jain said.

As the DTI national coordinator for the rubber industry cluster, Dr. Jain vowed never to become an armchair expert or policy maker who are often out of touch with the realities in the field. This she said she will do even if means going off the beaten path and into the boondocks. -- Lowell S. Vallecer