Sun, 01/16/2022 - 17:36

Seeding impacts the livelihoods of agricultural communities. Crop quality depends on the seeds sown, and the seeding process. It is important to plant the right seeds in a favorable environment.

For DA-ATI Bicol, 2020 was a year for sowing. The soil was prepared and ready to receive and nourish good seeds. The seeds of teamwork and cooperation. The seeds of #Sarabay.


On January 30, 2020 a 38-year-old female Chinese national became the first COVID-19 patient in the Philippines. By March, 462 confirmed COVID-19 cases in thePhilippines resulted to 33 fatalities.

To control the spread of the dreaded disease, Presidential Proclamation No. 929 declared a state of calamity and imposed a state of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) throughout Luzon from midnight of March 16, 2020 until April 30, 2020.

The Bicol Region remained under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) when the ECQ was lifted.

Pursuant to Civil Service Commission (CSC) Memorandum Circular No. 07series of 2020, DA-ATI Bicol observed the Work From Home (WFH) arrangement from March 17 to April 12, 2020. With resumption of the 5-day work week, the Center enforced strict adherence to health and safety protocols in the workplace.

Meanwhile, travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine gave way to grave concerns on food sufficiency. Agriculture Secretary William Dar emphasized the need to build resilience to threats such as Covid-19 and climate change under the principles of“survive, reboot, and grow.”

To survive the pandemic, DA-ATI provided fast-moving interventions to intensify urban agriculture and backyard gardening. These included starter kits under the Plant, Plant, Plant Program.

The Sarabay Channel became the Center’s virtual training hall. It became the online platform for training and extension services – an alternative training delivery system.

Derived from the Bicol word for “altogether,” which means teamwork, the ATI Bicol Sarabay Channel sought to continuously provide the needed services for the agriculture sector.

The impetus emerged to come up with daily advisories on health and planting during the quarantine period. These were delivered via Facebook and YouTube, as well as linked to radio broadcasts. The social media appealed to younger segments of the population, while the radio broadcasts were more accessible to conservative audiences.

The new modality evolved into the Online Distance Learning (ODL). An innovation born out of necessity, ODL is multi-location, web-based and delivered with face-to-face component.Conducted properly, the blended approach of ODL improves the 
knowledge, skills, and learning of its participants. It is the future of training.

Toward the end of the pandemic year, three typhoons successively hit the Bicol Region in three weeks. After each typhoon, the ATI Bicol personnel trooped to their respective work places to clean up and resume work.

Notwithstanding the three typhoons and a pandemic, 2020 proved to be a year of triumphs. Strengthened by the will to serve despite adversity, DA-ATI Bicol echoes Winston Churchill’s words: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”