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DAR relief packs for farmers
Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO), Hilaria Callera together with her staff, Caroline Sumayod and Marc Johann Omega, and driver Manolito Estil, distribute relief packs of supplemental food, vitamins and hygiene kits to the 70 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Barangay Wague, a remote village in Leyte, Leyte. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

Farmers from Leyte’s remote village thank DAR over relief packs

By JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
June 3, 2020

LEYTE, Leyte – Some 70 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from a far-flung farming village in this town were so thankful to receive relief packs of supplemental food, vitamins and hygiene kits from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

“Ako, nagpasalamat ko nga dunay tabang sa gobyerno. Pasalamaton ko kay gipangga pa diay mi’ng mag-uuma.” (Thank you that there is assistance from the government. I am grateful because the government still love us, the farmer.)

These were the words of Rondino Villamor, a 66 years old ARB from Barangay Wague, after receiving his relief pack.

Villamor and the 69 other farmers were among the 448 ARB-recipients of the relief packs in the entire municipality.

On Thursday afternoon last week, ignoring the risk posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) though observing the minimum health protocols, Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Hilaria Callera assisted by her staff, Senior Agrarian Reform Program Technologist Caroline Sumayod and Agrarian Reform Program Technologist Marc Johann Omega, delivered the 70 relief packs and distributed to the awaiting ARBs outside of the barangay’s multi-purpose center.

Many of them came straight from their farms.

Some packs we’re delivered to the house of the vulnerable ones.

Each pack contains four kilos of milled-rice, canned goods, noodles, vitamins, bath soaps and face masks.

According to Callera, she didn’t want these less-privilege members of the community to spend P200 for fare alone just to claim the relief packs in the office.

Callera took advantage of the DAR Provincial Office service vehicle driven by Manolito Estil, which was among the vehicles used to transport the relief packs from Tacloban City to the different DAR Municipal Offices throughout the province.

She requested to bring the 70 packs, intended for the ARBs in Barangay Wague, directly to the area, a remote village 14 kilometers away from the town proper.

Another recipient of the relief pack, Estrella Septimo, 62, said “Pasalamat ko nga nakadawat mi, nga nahatagan mi ug hinabang sa DAR. Nga ang among gikinahanglan, naa.” (We are thankful that we are able to receive assistance from DAR. These are what we need.)

OIC-Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay explained that the said distribution is just one of the four components of the PaSSOver: ARBold Move for Deliverance of our Farmers from COVID-19 Pandemic project. This is DAR’s response to Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, he said.

According to him, the distribution rolled out on May 14 this year at the national level. In Region-8, we started the distribution on May 21 in the Municipality of Palo, he added.

Aya-ay also disclosed that 9,532 ARBs all over Eastern Visayas are expected to receive the said relief assistance to help ease their burden brought by the current situation.

Meanwhile, Leyte-Biliran Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Renato Badilla shared that 4,941 ARBs in the Province of Leyte, and 140 ARBs in the Province of Biliran will be benefited.

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