The opening of BSWM’s 70th Founding Anniversary was the Launching of NPAAAD and SAFDZ Maps and spearheaded by the Agricultural Land Management and Evaluation Division. Attended by 20 onsite audience and 158 online viewers from the Municipal Agriculture Office, Planning and Development Office from the 13 provinces of Regions II, III and XI. Notwithstanding the constraints of the pandemic, the launching was a success.

The welcome remarks of Director Sonia M. Salguero gave emphasis on the important outputs of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management and one of which is the NPAAAD and SAFDZ maps of ALMED with Soil Survey Division (SSD) and Geomatics and Soil Information Technology Division (GSITD) through the help of Local Government Units, DA RFOs and other agencies.  

Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar extended his warm wishes for the 70th Founding Anniversary of the BSWM via video message that focused on the Republic Act 8435 known as Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) promulgated on December 22, 1998. He emphasized the policy of the state to ensure that all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity to develop through rational and sustainable use of resources peculiar to its area in order to maximize agricultural productivity, promote efficiency and equity and accelerate the modernization of the agricultural sectors. He recognized the initiative of BSWM to update the SAFDZ to ensure conservation and protection of our agricultural lands to achieve our goal of food secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous and empowered farmers and fisherfolks as well as the basic consideration of all efforts of the department on the sustainable use of land resources.  

Mr. Bernardo B. Pascua, Chief Agriculturist of ALMED, presented the overview of the project, discussed the legal bases of NPAAAD/SAFDZ, and mentioned the difference between the maps of 1998 and the output maps of CY 2021. Then, lead the ceremonial turn-over of maps to DA-RFO III and PLGU Bulacan, with the BSWM Director Sonia M. Salguero.

Engr. Elmer Tubig, OIC-Chief of Regional Agricultural Engineering Division guest from the Department of Agriculture- Regional Field Office III delivered the message from Director Crispulo G. Bautista Jr. He said that the map outputs shall be used as baseline data in the identification, prioritization, and preparation of Agri-Fisheries Mechanization and Agricultural Infrastructure Road Map and Master Plan. These will guide the operational plans of the DA-RFO III towards increasing the crop production to sustain the food requirement of the region through the use of modern technology and agriculture.

One more guest who gave her message was Miss Antonette B. Constantino, Provincial Administrator of Bulacan. On behalf of Hon. Governor Daniel R. Fernando, Ms. Constantino said that she was deeply touched and appreciated the map outputs presented. She further said that land resources is the basis for all progress and is a critical resource that cannot be replicated nor increased, but can only be protected. She said that these maps will give great impact to PLGU Bulacan projects.

Responses from various partners expressed their gratitude to BSWM through video presentations: from Mr. Arlan M. Mangelen, Regional Executive Director, DA-RFO XII; Mayor Ronaldo F. Franco, Municipality of Pamplona; Camarines Sur, Mayor Vic Paul Molina Salarda, MPA; Engr. Alain Alcala Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator, Sarangani; and Ms. Teresita Socorro C. Ramos, Chairperson of RLUC XII, Regional Director, NEDA XII.

Secretary Dar left a challenging line to the event, he said that land resources are the foundation of life, however, land is scarce, and its use is buried and oftentimes conflicting.