Tagaytay City, Philippines, April 13, 2013 – Fourteen farmers, five of them women, all members of the National Council (NC) of PAKISAMA (National Confederation of Farmers Organizations), AFA member in the Philippines, together with its national secretariat and regional coordinators, started today a four day orientation workshop in Tagaytay City, aimed to level-off on basic tenets of the organization, roles and functions of each governing and management structure, and to set directions of the organization for the next three years.
The first day of the orientation was spent on getting to know each other better, clarifying expectations between and among different levels of organization(e.g. secretariat, officers, council members) through a team-building exercise (e.g. secretariat, officers, council members), reviewing the core principes of authentic humanism and active non-violence, and levelling off on international and national situation of farmers, agriculture and sustainable development general. AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia gave inputs on the engagement of AFA in international policy advocacy work and Pakisama’s current involvement in it, especially in advocacy for land rights, sustainable agriculture and farmers’ market power, particularly in GAFSP, MTCP and in the celebration of the International Year of Family Farming in 2014.
The new set of NC leaders were elected during its 8th national congress, held last Feb 20-22, 2013 in Quezon City. Like in previous Congresses, the NC leaders were elected by each island region (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao), each region having five slots, with one slot given to a woman and another slot to a fisher. But unlike in previous Congresses, the President , Vice President and the committee heads are now elected from among the NC members. Elected for a three year term were Benedicto “Benny” Aquillo as Chairperson and Ireneo “Rene” Cerilla as President.
The last Congress also celebrated Pakisama’s 26th year, where it gave plaques of appreciation to organizations and individuals who have supported it from its founding years. AFA received one for its contribution to PAKISAMA’s international work.