By JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
January 21, 2019
TACLOBAN CITY – Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones turned over on Thursday 18 six-wheeler heavy-duty dump trucks to the same number of selected agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) in Eastern Visayas, and inaugurated the newly-rehabilitated building at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Regional Office-8 compound on the same occasion.
Castriciones in his message emphasized, “If we want our country to be progressive, let us strengthen the agriculture sector”. Thus DAR is providing ARBOs the necessary equipment particularly for their agri-enterprise activities.
Provision of the necessary support services is one of the components of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to improve the quality of lives of the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
Regional Director Sheila Enciso disclosed that the said dump trucks amounted to P81-million funded under the Agrarian Reform Communities Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) project.
According to her, of the 18 dump trucks, six units were given to the province of Leyte for MAALSADA Farmers Irrigators Service Agriculture Cooperative (FISCO) in Alangalang; Omaganhan Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Tabango; Hacienda Maria Multi-Purpose Cooperative in San Isidro; Merida Agriculture Diversified Services Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Merida; Brgy. Agutayan Farmers Association in Hilongos and Pastrana ARC Farmers Organization in Pastrana.
Four units were given to the province of Eastern Samar for the San Gabriel ARB Association in Borongan; San Pablo Agrarian Reform Cooperative in Taft; Growers Integrated Farmers Association in Salcedo and Canloterio Farmers Association in Maydolong.
Northern Samar was also given four units for the Centralized Farmers Association in Mondragon; Victoria Agrarian Reform Community Cooperative in Victoria; San Jose Farmers Association in San Jose and Northern Samar Rice Producers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Palapag.
Two units were given to the province of Western Samar for the Legaspi Farmers and Fisherfolk Association in Marabut and Villahermosa Oriental Farmers and Fisherfolk Association in Pagsanghan.
Biliran and Southern Leyte provinces were give one each for the Lico Agrarian Reform Cooperative in Naval, Biliran and San Francisco Multi-Purpose Cooperative in San Franciso, Southern Leyte.
Five units however were put on hold pending compliance of the requirements by the concerned ARBOs.
Undersecretary for Support Services Emily Padilla who was with the Secretary during the said occasion challenged the concerned ARBOs to use the dump trucks in uplifting the lives of the more than 20,000 members of the 18 farmer organizations.
She likewise stressed to the recipient ARBOs that all farm equipment provided by the agency will be geo-tagged so the office could monitor them.
According to the Secretary, the government hopes these ARBOs will succeed in developing their awarded lands and contribute to national development.
Rice production and trading, organic fertilizer production and trading, vegetable production and trading, coco coir and geotextile production and abaca trading are just among the agri-enterprise these ARBOs had ventured in.
Reynaldo Peja, Chairman of the MAALSADA FISCO, one of the ARBO recipients which is into rice trading, thank the President and the DAR and said, the dump truck would enable their cooperative now to deliver rice as far as Ormoc City and other areas in the region.
Meanwhile, as the DAR inaugurated a newly-rehabilitated building where the regional office will be transferred, Castriciones challenged the employees to be united and “work as a team to be able to achieve our objectives the way it should be done”.
The newly-rehabilitated building used to be a dormitory that was severely devastated during the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013.
With a contract price of P25.5-million, the rehabilitation started on December 2017 after the provincial government of Leyte granted DAR a usufruct for 25 years to the land where the building is erected, the area being owned by the provincial government of Leyte.
Governor Leopoldo Dominic Petilla said during the occasion, though the usufruct is free, he appealed to DAR officials to always consider Leyte for whatever programs and projects it has for the ARBs.
With the distribution of dump trucks, Petilla was happy that six farmer organizations in his province were among the beneficiaries of the multi-million pesos worth of machineries.