CARAGA Fishermen’s ‘Coop’ Catches ‘Best SETUP Adoptor’ Crown at NSTW 2019

Updated, July 22, 2019, to add statements of DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña and DOST-CARAGA Regional Director Dominga “Inday” D. Mallonga, input the correct SETUP funding for MAFISCO from Php1.9 million (as earlier published) to Php1.732 million.

By EDD K. USMAN, SDN, Twitter @edd1819, Instagram @bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital & Current News

WORLD TRADE CENTER, Pasay City (SDN) — FISHERMEN of CARAGA, or Region XIII, in Northeastern Mindanao, netted the biggest catch on Sunday, July 21, at the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) 2019.

The Mangagoy Fishermen Multi-purpose Cooperative (MAFISCO), won the 2019 “Best SETUP Adoptor” Plum, a highlight of the week-long (July 17-21) NSTW held at the World Trade Center (WTC), along Gil Puyat Avenue. MAFISCO received Php100,000 cash prize.

MAFISCO already won P20,000 as Best Regional SETUP Adoptor and another P30,000 as one of the five finalists for the national competition.

The cooperative or coop is based in Mangagoy, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur. It has at present over 1,000 member-entrepreneurs that now also include farmers.

With the inspiring win, MAFISCO also received from DOST through Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, aside from the cash prize a Certificate of Recognition and a trophy.

Without saying, prestige also came with the triumph of the coop formed in 1995.

MAFISCO Chairperson Paterna “Nene” Velasquez and General Manager Rho Cougee Garrido received the award and prizes from de la Peña and DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Brenda Nazareth-Manzano.


MAFISCO Chairperson Nene Velasquez and General Manager Rhoe Cougee Garrido proudly display their trophy and Certificate of Recognition as winner of 2019 DOST Best SETUP Adoptor. (Photo: SDN)

In an interview with SDN — Science and Digital News, Garrido thanked DOST-XIII for the opportunity to be a SETUP adoptor, saying it helped them a lot after they leveraged modern operation.

He was also thankful to the DOST Main for the recognition as this year’s winner of the competition. SETUP is one of the flagship programs of the DOST.

The life of a fisherman, Garrido said, is not an easy one.

“Our member-fishermen have to leave their families behind as they venture into the Pacific Ocean for 20 days.”

One fishing journey — they fish for tuna — costs MAFISCO around Php300,000, including fuel and food supplies for some 35 to 40 members of the fishing fleet expedition.

He said the SETUP funding they received went to building an ice plant, a vital component of a fishing community as it affords them longer storage for their catch.

Garrido said the cooperative will share the cash prize with the members of MAFISCO, relating that just last week a fire broke out in Mangagoy, razing to the ground several houses, including 20 houses of their members.

“We already helped them financially, but we will also give them from the prize we won. We will share with the rest of the members.”

DOST-CARAGA Region Regional Director Dominga “Inday” Dalagan Mallonga told SDN — Science and Digital News that MAFISCO qualified for SETUP funding in 2014 to the tune of Php1.732 million, returnable in three years without interest.

She said the grant comes with embedded services which are free to further help every MSME in the region.

“We are very happy that MAFISCO won as 2019 Best SETUP Adoptor,” Mallonga said.

“SETUP” stands for Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program, established by the DOST in 2002.

Each of the 16 DOST regional office has its own SETUP funding given to a micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which passes stringent scrutiny by DOST regional development institutes (RDIs) and its three Councils.

Embedded in the SETUP for MSMEs’ are technology acquisition, a series of technical training, technical consultancies and other services.

The DOST has been giving the Best SETUP Adoptor Award for eight years to recognize the efforts of entrepreneurs in upgrading to modern and technology-aided production to improve their overall operation that impacts revenue generation, employment, and wider market reach.

For the award, also considered is the technology’s impact to the entrepreneur and to the community where the adoptor resides.

Mafisco award with SFTP bDOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña (4th, right) is joined by other DOST officials in a post with the Mangagoy Fishermen Multi-purpose Cooperative (MAFISCO), national winner as ‘Best SETUP Adoptor’ in the NSTW 2019. DOST-Regional Operations Undersecretary Brenda Nazareth-Manzano is at 3rd, left, with DOST-8 Regional Director Edgardo Esperancilla by her right; MAFISCO representatives Chairperson Nene Velasquez (center) and General Manager Rhoe Cougee Garrido (4th, left); DOST-CARAGA (Region XII) Regional Director Dominga ‘Inday’ Dalagan Mallonga (3rd, left); Assistant Regional Director for Field Operations Ricardo Varela (2nd, right); and Surigao del Sur Provincial Science and Technology Director Caressa Leanne Lim. De la Peña and Nazareth-Manzano presented the award and the prizes to the winners, assisted by Esperancilla and Mallonga. (Photo: MAFISCO Facebook page)  

CARAGA, created through Republic Act No. 7901 on February 23, 1995, comprises of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, and Dinagat Island; and the cities of Butuan (the regional administrative center), Cabadbaran, Surigao, Tandag, Bislig, and Bayugan.

Additionally, CARAGA Region has 67 municipalities and 1,311 barangays.

The region is where the DOST-CARAGA Region operates, under the leadership of Mallonga.

MAFISCO fished out another Php30,000 as national finalist, and Php20,000 for winning as Best SETUP Adoptor in the Regional Science and Technology Week (RSTW).

Aside from MAFISCO, the four other finalists, with Php30,000 prize each, were Dielle’s Apiary and Meadery, Inc., DOST-National Capital Region; MAS Steel Fabricator, DOST-V; Long Live Pharma, DOST-I; and Antofel Trading, DOST-IX.

Criteria for judging in the regional edition focused on Technology, Process and Innovation Assimilation, 40 percent; Product and Process Outcomes, 20 percent; Market and  Financial Outcomes, 20 percent; and Entrepreneurial Acumen and  Management Leadership, 20 percent.

For the national edition of the competition, the DOST selected a Board of Judges who are experts on their field, particularly on the development of MSMEs because they come from the University of the Philippines-Institute of Small Scale Industry (UP-ISSI).

The judges included Dr. Aleli B. Bawagan, chairperson and director, UP-ISSI; engineer Leoncio T. Cubillas, Jr., member and division head, Business Enterprise Development Division (BIDD); engineer Ma. Luisa Solarte-Lee, member and University Extension Specialist (UES) III, BIDD; engineer Jefferson C. Sumalabe, member and UES II, Research Division; and Ms. Jocelle P. Mamaril, member and division head, Information and Public Affairs Office (IPAO).

DOST-SOCCSKSARGEN’s (DOST-XII) SETUP beneficiary Greenlands Agritech Ventures won as the national Best SETUP Adoptor in 2018.

Greelands and MAFISCO, thus, made it a double as Best SETUP Adoptor for Mindanao’s DOST regional offices in two straight years.

For this year, Greentropics Coffee Enterprise in General Santos City is one of the 16 SETUP regional winners this year, the bet of DOST-XII for the national competition at the NSTW 2019.

P_20190721_124801_1DOST-SOCCSKSARGEN Regional Director Hadja Zenaida P. Hadji Raof Laidan (2nd, right), and Greentropics Coffee Enterprise CEO Fred B. Fredeluces (left), and Arlene Aparente of Great Harvest Food Industry, also in General Santos City, both SETUP beneficiaries. (Photo: SDN)

DOST-SOCCSKSARGEN Regional Director Hadja Zenaida “Sitti Shayma” P. Hadji Raof Laidan said they will groom the region’s SETUP beneficiaries for the 2020 competition.

CEO Fred B. Fredeluces of Greentropics Coffee Enterprise said they plan to expand their community involvement, particularly with the Php20,000 cash prize from the regional edition.

Mallonga said most of the inhabitants of Mangagoy, “a coastal and fishing community dependent on the resources of the sea and marine life, really have to resort to fishing as their day-to-day source of income after the closure of pulp and paper company Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP) in the 1980s.”

The DOST-CARAGA regional director pointed out that inhabitants also engaged in logging as livelihood but had to quit after the government intervened to stop illegal logging.

“While agriculture cultivation had started, the area, though, is more suited to industrial tree plantations like falcata, so most of the inhabitants really resort to fishing as their day to day source of income,” Mallonga said.

De la Peña said MAFISCO is a cooperative (coop) of small fishermen which started with only 17 members, each one with a share capital of Php1,000. It has now grown to 1,372 members, he added.

The DOST secretary revealed the coop has total assets of Php56 million.

Intervention provided by the DOST was for the upgrading of MAFISCO’s old ice plant from a 10-ton to 17-ton capacity producer.

The Php1.732 million SETUP funding went to ice making and refrigeration components, energy recovery and water conditioner products, he said, of which the coop shouldered Php5.3 million to complete the project cost of Php7 million.

De la Peña said “the fund was released in 2014 and the upgraded ice plant became operational in 2015.”

MAFISCO helped increase the productivity of its members as well as the quality of the catch through the ice blocks or ice which they can use in the preservation of fish.

The resulting increased income of the member-fishermen motivated more fishermen to join the coop.

He recalled that before the DOST intervention, MAFISCO’s ice production could supply only for small fishing boats.

“Now member fishermen have three 25-ton capacity commercial fishing boats that can stay in the Pacific Ocean for longer periods or more because the ice plant can supply the needed ice requirement to preserve the fish catch.

“The coop also supplies the ice requirements of commercial fishing boats coming from General Santos City, Davao, and Negros that go fishing in the Pacific Ocean, and small fishing boats of nearby areas.

“From selling ice blocks, the coop has now a small fish processng plant for bottled tuna,” said de la Peña.

Mallonga said other interventions of DOST through its CARAGA regional office as part of the P1.732 million funding included GMP (good manufacturing practice) and food safety training, packaging and labelling, “nutrifacts,” shelf life, and MPEX (manufacturing productivity extension program).

The DOST-CARAGA regional director said that MAFISCO in 2018 earned a net income of Php21 million, of which Php16 million was contributed by the ice plant.

She said all in all the DOST in Region XII has 400 SETUP beneficiaries.

SETUP stands for Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program, which is being implemented throughout the Philippines by DOST regional offices.

Here’s what DOST-NCR under Regional Director Jose “Jojo” B. Patalinjug III said about the program.

“SETUP is a nationwide strategy to encourage and assist SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to adopt technological innovations to improve their operations and thus boost their productivity and competitiveness. SETUP provides (MSMEs) with equipment and technical assistance to enable MSMEs to increase sales and production, streamline and improve overall company operations, upgrade the quality of products and services, conform to national and international standards of excellence, and be competitive in their respective fields.

“SETUP supports MSMEs by providing: (1) seed fund for technology acquisition, (2) needed equipment and equipment upgrading, (3) technical trainings and consultancy services, (4) packaging and label design, (5) database information systems, and (6) support for establishment of product standards, including testing, and calibration of equipment.”  (SDN/EKU)

Featured image of MAFISCO Office from its Facebook page.

Update will be inputted in this article as more information filters in.

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