All in a Day's Work

A day in the Senate.

August 19, 2009. My CP alarm woke me up. It was  4 a.m. and I had to be at office early. So,
excited and at same time afraid to be caught in the daily traffic gridlock at the Coastal
Road,  I took off with a prayer for today is a big day for ATI… the Senate Bill 3100 known
as the Extension Bill is scheduled for  2nd Reading and interpellation at Senate of the

The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), lead by Dir. Asterio P. Saliot (who  enplaned
directly from Cebu City); Dr. Eliseo R. Ponce, Technical Expert on Agricultural Extension
and  the Technical Support Staff of the Office Director were all present to witness the
interpellation of  the Senators on the Bill.

The importance of the passing of Senate Bill 3100 dawned on me as we enter the gallery of
the Senate Plenary Hall. I saw a lot of people representing the agriculture and fisheries
sectors and agricultural extension practitioners filling up the gallery. Outside the Session
Hall, I stood in awe as lobbyists engaged legislators and exhibited their skill on how
advocacy is done inside the august halls of the Senate of the Philippines.

Anchored on the provisions of Republic Act  8435 or the Agriculture and Fisheries
Modernization Act (AFMA) of 1997,  the Extension Bill embodies the  vision and enabling
state policies for the efficient delivery of agriculture and fisheries extension services in
the country. It also seeks to put flesh on certain provisions of the AFMA on improving the
synergy between the Department Agriculture and the local government units. The bill paves
the way for the transformation of the ATI into the Philippine Agriculture and Fisheries
Extension Agency (PAFEA) and the capacity development of its extension work force and the
needed streamlining of agriculture extension systems for an effective and efficient delivery
of its services.

The Extension Bill is the fruit of years of continuous consultations initiated by ATI with
its various stakeholders; and in-depth researches on studies done in modernizing
agricultural extension delivery systems.

However, shortly before the start of the session, Executive Director Charito M. Sebastian of
the Congressional Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFM) informed the
group that the hearing on the Extension Bill was rescheduled to provide the COCAFM more time
in refining gray areas on the Bill.

Though odds are insurmountable at first, the prospects on the Bill’s approval are quite
inspiring. The skills and insights learned as we engaged the stakeholders who wished to be
heard and be clarified on the provisions of the Extension Bill that affect them are
invaluable to a greenhorn like me. It felt good to be part of the team. And as the group
left the legislative arena, I noticed a certain spring in my strides and a feeling of
anticipation of greater things to come as the day comes to a close.



primalou's picture

the bill of dreams in A&F

Thanks Ma'am Abby for sharing a few of the varied, numerous efforts and joys that you have to go through, to bring into fruition the Extension Bill. Sad that copious hard work sometimes have to stall awhile or move to low gear to wait for the right (or ripe) time. However, sabi nga sa Field of Dreams, “build it, they will come…” or something along that line. ‘Wish you all the best, and success for such endeavors seeking to modernize the A&F in our land.

"In every man, there is a light."