The Department of Agriculture may have farmed out P12 million in terms of livelihood assistance to communities affected by marijuana production in the region, but it has no way of knowing if these were able to reach intended beneficiaries.
“There is no baseline data we can hold on to evaluate if the projects were successful or not,” conceded Patricio Ananayo, chief of agribusiness and marketing assistance division of the DA in the region last week.
Ananayo is the project coordinator of the DA’s livelihood assistance program for villages affected by marijuana production, notably the towns of Kapangan, Kibungan, and Bakun in Benguet and Tinglayan in Kalinga.
Ananayo did not say it but DA insiders say the insistence of the DA’s bids and awards committee to conduct bidding for parties willing to contract the conduct of baseline studies has prevented interested parties from applying for the contract, even if the job could have been contracted outright.
This reporter tried to get the reaction of BAC chair Stacey Dumalan but she instead referred us to the regional information officer, who was out of town.
It was learned that a subsequent bidding failed because of lack of bidders.
Ananayo said without any baseline data, there is no way of ascertaining the status of the beneficiary villages after they have received their livelihood assistance.
“Is there a significant improvement in their social and economic standing?” he said. “Is there a need to expand or enhance assistance?”
He said the lack of baseline data has also made it difficult to evaluate feedbacks and to come up with profile of the communities that used to be affected by “hit and run” marijuana production.
“There is standstill because of this,” he said, expressing hope the BAC would relax its standards to accommodate interested contractors.
Ananayo said the P12M funding had been totally disbursed for various livelihood projects that ranged from sericulture, ginger production, sugarcane growing, cattle raising, to native sow raising.