Beekeeping is one of the important forms of agriculture in the world. About one-third of the seed yield of agricultural crops worldwide (Robson, 1988) is derived from the pollination of cross – pollinated plants. Diversified products like honey, beeswax, royal jelly, bee venom, pollen and propolis have potential demand both in the local and international markets. Hence, apiculture should be develop as a rurban agro-based industry since it enhances the balance of the ecosystem. It maximizes the labor resources of both women and youth sectors of the society.
In the Philippines, there exists four native and one exotic honeybee species that have been identified as sources of honey and other by-products. Their presence and the benefits they offer to both beekeepers and non-beekeepers indicate the potential of developing the apiculure industry in the country. Thus, as early as 1980, the culture of honeybee was started as on of the income-generating projects of the College of Agriculture and Forestry of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU-CAF). However, the projects was abandoned due to limited financial support. Ten years later, the idea of establishing a beekeeping training center came into reality with the creation of the Apiculture Training and Development Center (ATDC) with initial regular staff of three. Their are nine staff detailed at the center who are carrying out its programs/projects in relation to the promotion and commercialization of the beekeeping industry.
The Apiculture Training and Development Center was conceived and started due to felt need of both private and government sectors for an institution to spearhead and support the development of the development of the beekeeping industry. Hence on September 27, 1991, by the virtue of Board Resolution No. 91-160, the different agencies which were already involved in the beekeeping such as Plan International, a non-governmental organization based at Baguio City, Abra-Benguet-La Union-Western Pangasinan (ABLUWP) Beekeeper’s Cooperative; and Fairview College, Canada; together with the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), Philippines entered into a Memorandum of Agreement that established the Apiculture Training and Development Center (ATDC) at DMMMSU, Bacnotan, La Union, Philippines. The ATDC is regarded as the only Apiculture Center ever established in the country that is catering to the needs of the existing and emerging beekeepers. Its operation as a center is dependent on the budget appropriation of DMMMSU particularly on its meager to share from the research and extension funds of the University. Other sources of funds and services are the financial and technical support provided by local and foreign funding agencies i response to approved proposals prepared and submitted by DMMMSU-ATDC staff. Most of the pieces of equipment in the office, woodwork shop, and laboratory were provided by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) while the repair of the building which now houses the center and the provision of additional equipment were shouldered by the Plan International – Baguio.
The existing resources like facilities, manpower, demonstration apiary and infrastructure of the center are just enough to initially conduct beekeeping trainings and extension of technical assistance to limited number of clienteles. However, the operation of the center resulted to the increase in the number of beekeepers that are now scattered in strategic beekeeping areas in the seven regions of the country. Some of these beekeepers were recipients of beekeeping trainings, workshops, seminars, symposia and technical assistance conducted and extended by the center. The sizes of their apiary operations are considered backyard. however, theses are producing honey for the marker=t, though limited in quantity which indicates that beekeeping can be viable tool for rural development.
The radiation effect of the ATDC programs and other institutions created the interest of beekeepers in almost all parts of the country. Unfortunately, the growing demand for beekeeping trainings, technical assistance and the establishment of the bee industry could hardly be met due to its limited resources and the absence of authority of the center to prepare, implement and oversee research and extension programs in apiculture.
The aforecited limitations on the implementation of apiculture programs did not stop the center from dreaming that someday it will eventually become a national institute. Therefore, as a starting point, the center prepared a resolution that was favorably endorsed by representatives of beekeepers nationwide in a meeting held on September 04, 1998. The resolution requested for the inclusion of apiculture as a regular research commodity under PCARRD-DOST network. This was given favorable action so apiculture is already a sub-commodity component of the Agroforestry and Multipurpose Tree Species Research Commodity of Region I, with DMMMSU as the lead agency. The approval was signed by Dr. Breatriz P. Del Rosario who was then the Officer In-Charge of PCARRD and this was recieved by DMMMSU of September 23, 1998.
In the early part of 1999, because of the clamor of an authority in the Apiculture industry to satisfy the increasing demand, the ATDC staff drafted a bill for the abolition of the ATDC and creation of National Apiculture Research, Training and Development Institute (NARTDI) instead at DMMMSU, Bacnotan, La Union. This was presented to beekeepers who attended the third National Beekeeping Symposium held at DMMMSU, Bacnotan, La Union on April 14, 1999 after which favorable endorsement was given them. In May 1999, a request was prepared and forwarded t the office of Hon. Dante V. Liban of the 2nd District of Quezon City for his co-sponsorship of the bill which he formerly accepted through a letter dated May 19, 1999.
On September 1999, NEDA Region I requested DMMMSU-ATDC to submit supporting documents for RDC Resolution No. 11, s. 1999, requesting Hon. Cong. Manuel C. Ortega representative of the 1st District of La Union to sponsor the NARDTI bill and RDC Resolution No. 12,s. 1999, requesting all the Congressmen of Region I to support such bill. These resolutions were prepared during the 1st Regular Meeting of the Regional Development Council on August 11, 1999 chaired Hon. Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson.
In support to the proposed bill, the Sanguniang Pambayan of Bacnotan, La Union also prepared Resolution No. 34, requesting Hon. Manuel C. Villar, Speaker of the House of Representative to extend his all-out support for the enactment of the House Bill No. 10594 into Law and Resolution No. 35 endorsing the proposed bill authored by Hon. Cong. Manuel C. Ortega. Likewise, the Municipality of Barlig, Mt. Province approved Resolution No. 74, s. 1999, requesting the Hon. Cong. Josephine DC Dominguez, Representative, Lone District of Mountain Province, to support the bill.
Through constant follow-up and proper representation of Hon. Cong. Manuel C. Ortega, House Bill 10594 was formerly presented to the Committee on Government Reorganization on August 22, 2000 at the Lakandula Room of the Sulo Hotel in a meeting presided by Committee Chairman, Cong. Ronald Cosalan of the Province of Benguet. DMMMSU-ATDC staff, headed by Pres. Dionisio G. Ducusin, were present at the meeting to answer the queries of the members of the Committee. During that committee hearing, the committee scheduled ocular visit and inspection of DMMMSU-ATDC facilities which they did on September 28-30, 2000. The committee also visited some apiaries of La Union Beekeepers Association Inc. (LUBAI) and Baguio City beekeepers.
Finally, House Bill No. 10594, which was introduced by Hon. Cong. Manuel C. Ortega and supported by 79 fellow Cong. was approved during the Third Regular Session at the Lower House as per Committee Report No. 1335.
In October 2000, Senator Loren Legarda Leviste filed Senate Bill 2199 at the House of Senate and on November 13 of the same year, upon the request DMMMSU, the first reading was done after the bill was referred to the committees on Agriculture and Food and Finance on January 30, 2001, the Senate Bill was also finally referred to the committees on Civil Service and Government Reorganization and Education, Arts and Culture as secondary as manifested by Sen. Tatad.
On February 07, 2001, the Committees on Civil Service and Government Reorganization and Finance returned Senate Bill 2199 jointly to the Senate as Committee Report No. 640, recommending for its approval with amendments. The said report was submitted to the Senate on February 08, 2001 with Sen. Nikki Coseteng on the floor of the Senate. Senate Bill 2199 was approved on Second Reading as per Committee Report 640.
On February 14, 2001, Hon. Cong. Manuel C. Ortega wrote to Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regarding the approval of the chamber on a motion to suspend consideration of the bill and othe bills for second reading due to lack of material time and because of this, the Hon. Cong. requested to Her Excellency to certify for the urgency of the bill so that it may see the “light of day” before the 11th Congress draws to a close. In response, on March 05, 2001, the legislative office of the Office of the President through the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, Hon. Jose T. Tale, referred Senate Bill 2199 to the Hon. Joemari D. Gerochi, who was then acting as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Consequently, on March 15, 2001, the DENR Secretary instructed Hon. Paula Defensor, Assistant Secretary, Lands and Legislative Affairs, to solicit the comments of the Undersecretary, Legal Affairs; the Assistant Secretary for Planning, Policy Studies and Economic Affairs; and the Regional Executive Director of DENR Region I.
On May 28, 2001, the Secretary of Agriculture, Hon. Leonardo Q. Montemayor issued a Memurandum, upon the request of Hon. Cong. Ortega for the President Through Secretary Gabriel S. Claudio, Presidential Legislative Adviser and Head, PLLO endorsing Presidential Certification as Urgent Legislative Measure, House Bill 10594 and passed by the House on Third Reading and the counterpart Senate Bill 2199 filed by Sen. Loren Legarda. Both measures were subject of Senate Committee Report No. 640 which has been referred to the floor of the Senate by the Committee on Civil Service and Committee on Government Reorganization for Second Reading. Her Excellency Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo certified the necessity of immediate enactment of Senate Bill No. 2199 on May 28, 2001.
In view of the Presidential Certification, upon motion of Sen. Tatad, and there being no objections, the body considered Senate Bill No. 2199 with amendments on its Third Reading. The Bill was approved with ten Senators voting in favor, none against and no abstention. The result was transmitted to the House of Representatives and approved without objections of June 07, 2001.
The consolidated version of House Bill 10594 and Senate Bill 2199 was finally passed by the House of Representatives and Senate on June 05 and 06, 2001, respectively. Her Excellency Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo approved Republic Act 9151 creating the National Apiculture Research, Training and Development Institute (NARTDI) on August 10, 2001.