The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) presented its menu of legislative agenda to the Secretariat of the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) during a briefing session on May 20, 2019 at the House of Representatives, Quezon City.
The agenda briefing session primarily aimed to help the members of Congress come up with legislative agenda that would be prioritized in the 18th Congress.
Dr. Ernesto O. Brown, PCAARRD’s Socio-Economics Research Division (SERD) Director, gave an overview of the agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources (AANR) sector, as well as a brief background of PCAARRD and its policy analysis and advocacy banner program. He also discussed the House bills that have been supported and not supported by PCAARRD in the 17th Congress.
Dr. Brown presented the proposed new legislative agenda. These included financial management reform (FMR) for research and development (R&D) operations; development and promotion of Smart Agriculture; and investigation in aid of legislation to examine the government programs designed to promote agricultural export products in the international market.
Moreover, Dr. Brown asserted that issues in financial management has been one of the recurring problems in the science and technology (S&T) community, particularly in AANR R&D operations. He mentioned that S&T works on the basis of certain established methods/procedures, which cannot be easily boxed in a financial management system standard for all government operations.
Hence, PCAARRD proposed a draft House bill, which was presented to the Secretariat. To further advocate FMR, it was suggested for PCAARRD to conduct a full-blown study that would assess the financial management policies governing S&T activities. The study aims to identify the specific problems of pertinent policies and determine how the specific provision/s stifles R&D. This will also evaluate whether the problem lies on the law governing the financial management of R&D operations, the implementers, or the capacity to implement.
The importance of a legislation in developing and promoting smart technologies in agriculture was also highlighted during the presentation. These technologies contribute in agricultural development as they provide tools and information, which allow for better informed crop management and seasonal crop planning amidst climate change.
Another agenda presented was a House resolution to conduct an investigation on the extent of functions of trade attaches and concerned government agencies in agricultural trade promotion in the Philippines.
It was cited that some industry players feel disadvantaged, in terms of government support and assistance, compared with other players in the ASEAN region. Also, it has been observed that the country’s existing policies and programs in trade promotions are not enough compared with that of other countries such as Vietnam and Thailand. In this regard, Dr. Miral recommended to conduct a preliminary and independent study that would serve as basis in the conduct of the investigation/hearing.
Almost 30 participants from the CPBRD, headed by Director-General Romulo Miral, Jr., and some from the Committees on Natural Resources, Agrarian Reform, and Food Security attended the briefing session.
Meanwhile, the PCAARRD delegation, which was headed by Dr. Brown included representatives from the Council’s Agricultural Resources Management Research Division (ARMRD), Technology Transfer and Promotion Division (TTPD), and Policy Action Group (PAG) Secretariat of the Socio-Economics Research Division (SERD) (ezg, Philippine Press Club, Inc. (PPCII)).