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Barangay Livestock Aide (BALA) Program  //  Barangay Livestock Aide (BALA) Program


BARANGAY LIVESTOCK ASSISTANCE (BALA) PROGRAM


The inception of the BARANGAY LIVESTOCK ASSISTANCE (BALA) PROGRAM in 1997 was primarily aimed at increasing the livestock manpower of the province of Bohol and capacitating the barangay LGUs in attending to the livestock-related needs of their constituents. By the concept, the delivery of livestock and poultry support services was made accessible to all industry players in the province, particularly the marginal farmers who cannot be attended by the regular technical employees. While before, one (1) technical personnel was made to serve 16 barangays, the BALA had provided one (1) trained volunteer aide in every barangay.

The program has made a real breakthrough in terms of solving the shortage of technical manpower and the geographical distance between clientele and the service provider. With these, the government had saved lots of money while addressing the problem on the lack of personnel. As bonus, the program had also greatly improved the monitoring network relative to livestock and poultry situations, especially in times of disease outbreaks and the response time in needful calls.








Strategies of Implementation:

Recruitment


The recruitment of volunteers is being delegated to the barangay level thru its officials. The key role of the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV) is only providing the basic qualification for the prospective volunteers. The barangay is given a free-hand in the selection as to the other necessary factors such as willingness to serve, acceptability in the barangay and coachability and etc.

Training

Selected BALA volunteers are trained at the municipal level with cost sharing as follows:
- the barangay shoulders the fare of participants to and from the venue
- the municipality handles the meals and venue
- the province provides the resource speakers, the manuals and the initial veterinary supplies.

The basic training course for BALA volunteers is conducted in three to five day duration inclusive of the field practicum. Aside from the technical inputs, the group is also guided to formulate a simple municipal plan of action. Upon graduation from the course, the BALAs are deputized and presented to the Barangay Captains for due recognition. Official IDs are provided by the Governor as proof of deputization.

Formation Of Association

Though volunteers are made to cover separate barangays, an association is formed to promote concerted efforts and effective delivery of instructions. With the associations formed, the OPV and the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) is able to supervise the group through various periodic meetings: monthly for the municipal associations and quarterly for the provincial association. Problems are shared and deliberated collectively whereby solutions are decided by the group including those at the management level. For sustainability sake, the Bohol Association of Barangay Livestock Aides (BABALA) was registered with DOLE as People’s Organization. This was done to give them access to aids from both the government and non-government organizations.

Community Support System

By essence, the program is voluntary but community support is necessary to get the program into work. The respective barangays are allocating budgets basic for the volunteers’ operational requirements such as mobility, drugs and biologics. At the municipal level there is another allocation provided to the association for meetings, drugs and biologics. The province is also providing funds for the provincial trainings, technological updates, meetings, livelihood assistance, accident insurance, drugs and biologics and other activities such as congress and program assessments. In addition, private companies and NGO’S are extending support on technological updates and the seed fund for the operation of the “Botica sa Panghayopan” in the amount of PhP200, 000.00- courtesy from the Heifer International Project. The DOLE had released an initial PhP 150,000.00 cash assistance for the operation of Swine Artificial Breeding Centers in the municipal BALA’s of Mabini, Calape and Jagna.

At the community level during activities such as massive deworming, massive vaccination and IEC, the barangay officials are responsible in informing the people and getting their participation. The presence of reliable service volunteer in every barangay is a potent motivator for the people to engage in the livestock and poultry business as they have now access to the necessary services for the industry.

Legal Basis for Program Implementation

The creation of the BALA Program is backed-up with legislation as per Article 3. Section 131 of the Provincial Code of Ordinances. Henceforth, yearly budget is allocated to support the program. It is incorporated in the OPV Annual Budget. Likewise, the municipalities had also passed their Ordinances adopting the same. Corresponding budget is also being allocated at their own end. The OPV together with the BABALA Officers had formulated an Operations Manual. One of its features is the use of “Roll Over Scheme” in the utilization of drugs and biologics. This is done to ensure availability of veterinary supplies and continuity of service even with minimal budget from the government. Another stipulation in the manual embodies the roles and limitation of BALA volunteers as well as the policy on deputation and its revocation.

Program Accomplishments and Impact:

Having been awarded the Galing Pook Trailblazing Program in year 2000, program/project partners from NGO’s and government as well as funding institutions gained confidence in providing funds to other industry related projects. The presence of BALA became a basic requirement in the selection of areas where to invest assistance. At present, the BALA is assisting the implementation of the following programs co-funded by non-government organization and government line agencies such as the LETS HELP BOHOL Program; the Localized AI Program; Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Program and Livestock and Poultry
Disease Prevention and Control Program.

In the economic viewpoint, the program serves well in the mitigation of losses due to mortality and diseases of livestock and poultries. The program with the able stewardship of the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian is protecting the livestock and poultry asset of the province. Protecting such a huge amount of assets, can give the Boholanos a boost in its socio-economic state. Directly the program assures marginal farmers of ready services encouraging them to engage in livestock and poultry raising as alternative livelihood instead of environmentally threatening ones (i.e. kaingin). It also generates employment among the women and children in the locality.

Aside from the Galing Pook Award, the Program has been accorded the following recognitions:

1. “Pillar of Agriculture Development Award” given by the Department of Agriculture-RFU 7 on June 24, 2005;
2. Received the Presidential Trophy given by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the 2nd BALA Congress held on October 2, 2003;
3. “Best Paper Award” in Development and Extension Category given by Phil. Society of Animal Science-Visayas Chapter on October 23, 2002;
4. Most Outstanding BALA Organization – Garcia Hernandez, Bohol during the Gawad Saka Search conducted by the Provincial Government last January 2001
5. Most Outstanding BALA Organization – Antequera, Bohol during the search for Outstanding Agricultural Achiever in December 2004