DA 'integrity circles' for graft-free agri-fishery

May 29, 2020

The Department of Agriculture has created "integrity circles," dubbed as “Agriculture Dialogue and Information Network Groups” to ensure efficient, effective, and graft-free use of limited public funds.

“This is our response to the call of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to provide transparency and integrity in all government interventions," Agriculture  Sec. William Dar said.

"So, ADING is a systematic and institutional system that will enable us to monitor and evaluate if our agri-fishery policies, programs, and projects on the ground are effectively and cost-efficiently implemented, without any shade of graft and corruption," Dar added.

He  said ADING would also serve as “our 'ears and eyes' on the ground that will provide the DA management immediate feedback on how our initiatives affect the lives of farmers, fishers, agri-preneurs, and farming and fishing communities, as a whole”.

“The campaign against corruption should not only be the sole responsibility of the DA, but also of farmers, fishers, and other agri-fishery industry stakeholders. Thus, we will involve representatives from their ranks and other concerned sectors to make ADING an impartial, objective and credible system,” the DA chief said.

The "integrity circles" would be composed of representatives from farmers and fishers' cooperatives and associations, rural youth and women, civil society, local government units, agribusiness industry, academe and designated DA officials.

Under ADING, they would work together in a sustained manner to promote integrity by strengthening good governance and transparency and ensuring accountability in all DA-funded agri-fishery initiatives, Dar said.

“Essentially, the integrity circles will be involved in program implementation and monitoring, procurement process, community dialogues and other participatory mechanisms — from the national, regional, provincial down to municipal levels,” he said.

Complementing the ADING system, Dar issued Special Order 420, series of 2020, designating six DA officials as Agriculture Development Cluster Officers to ensure that the agency's services and interventions are promptly and efficiently delivered for the benefit of target beneficiaries.

The six ADCOs, who would each oversee five designated clusters are: Undersecretary Waldo Carpio (Central and North Luzon); Assistant Secretaries William Medrano, Sr. and Lerey Panes (South Luzon); Assistant Secretary Hansel Didulo (Visayas); Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña (Eastern Mindanao); and Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan (Western Mindanao).

“Essentially, they will work on inter-regional or inter-island issues and concerns based on strategic approaches in determining food supply situations in their respective cluster and immediately give resolution to any deficiency encountered,” the DA chief said.

The ADCOs would also serve as focal person in the implementation, coordination and monitoring of DA programs, projects, activities and other services.

“In all, we aim to remove that ‘ugly specter of corruption’ that for a long time has tainted the image of the DA and other government agencies. The public can rest assured that in times like these, interventions and services should swiftly and efficiently reach intended beneficiaries,” Dar said.

“We need to be transparent. Wherever information is deprived corruption becomes rampant. But if we have a systematic way of putting information in the open and monitoring is done regularly, corruption is minimized,” he said.