Mariano issues 10-point directive for land acquisition and distribution

news national 1 pix 1 aug 18 2017AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano has set the stage for speedy land acquisition and distribution to potential farmer-beneficiaries and actual tillers of the land when he issued to all field implementers clear cut 10-point directives that primarily seek to fast track the acquisition and distribution of agricultural lands to landless farmers.

This is in line with the DAR’s strategic action to defend and assert the rights of farmers.

Foremost in his agenda, Mariano said is the immediate acquisition and distribution of big landholdings that have continuously evaded the program, which is now on its 29th year of implementation. The CARP was launched in June 1988.

To ensure that no landholding would be spared, Mariano directed all provincial agrarian reform program officers and regional directors to conduct inventories in their respective areas of responsibilities of landholdings that had been issued with notices of coverage.

He told them to cover those landholdings right away, including those that had been issued with “erroneous” notices, like typographic errors in the entries of information about the landowners’ identities, notices of coverage and locations and sizes of landholdings, among others.

The inventory, Mariano said, should extend to those landholdings that had already been distributed to the farmer-beneficiaries to determine if the same beneficiaries are still the ones in complete control and actual physical possession of farmlands that were awarded to them.

“Support services that had been provided to our farmer-beneficiaries should also be monitored to find out what other support services could be delivered and ensure that no duplication of project would be carried out.

The DAR chief ordered his field implementers to disseminate recently issued administrative orders that seek to “kill” previously issued policies that are inconsistent with and stand in the way for the speedy implementation of the existing agrarian reform program.

He also gave the go signal for the full implementation of his pet project – the Agrarian Reform Justice on Wheels (ARJOW) – in a bid to speed up the resolution of agrarian cases and attain zero-backlog during his administration.

Mariano also showed firm resolve against illegal and premature land conversion. He directed his field officials to issue cease and desist orders against violators and file charges against those who would willfully defy his order.

He stressed in his directive that all land conversion orders be declared null and void if no development activities had been undertaken after the five-year period, from the time the said orders were issued.

Moreover, Mariano cited the need for the immediate formation of task forces, especially those that look into the plight of farmer-beneficiaries, who remain uninstalled in the farmlands that had been awarded to them due to continued harassment and intimidation by the former landowners.

Knowing the limitations of the government’s land reform programs, Mariano rallied his field implementers to make a comprehensive action plan in their respective areas in preparation for the all-out campaign for the enactment of the proposed House Bill No. 555, or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or the “Free Land Distribution Bill (FLDB).”

Mariano also gave a standing order to all concerned DAR central and field officials to complete the regular processing for the promotion of deserving DAR employees and the hiring of DAR employees, who were left out in the previous implementation of the rationalization plan, and of new staffs.

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Negros Island Region dissolution won’t affect the farmers – DAR

news national 1 pix 1 aug 17 2017Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael V. Mariano assured the farmers from Negros Island Region (NIR) that the department would still continue to deliver its utmost agrarian reform services despite the forthcoming abolishment of their region.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week signed Executive Order No. 38 (EO) abolishing NIR. As provided by the EO, the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental shall revert to Region VI and Region VII, respectively.

The EO stated that the establishment of regional offices of departments and agencies in the NIR requires substantial appropriation to be fully operational, thus, will be competing with government priority programs and projects for funding.

“We will comply with the EO’s directives, however, we will also consult with all the involved stakeholders for us to study what’s best to be done,” Mariano said.

Mariano stressed that the affected DAR employees would either be absorbed or be sent back to their previous units.

“This region has high land acquisition and distribution (LAD) balance, if we need to reinforce more personnel to work from the region up to barangay level, we will take that into consideration,” Mariano said.

Negros Island has the biggest balance of landholdings nationwide under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) with 89,794 hectares regionwide, comprising of 71,837 beneficiaries. For this year, NIR has a target of 12,392 hectares to distribute.

DAR-NIR has currently 23 permanent and 30 job order employees.

#AgrarianReform #DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #PartnerForChange 


DAR pursues sugar block farming in Isabela

news national 1 pix 1 aug 16 2017CABAGAN, Isabela — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), in partnership with the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA) and the local government of Cabagan, recently launched its sugarcane block farming (SBF) project to help increase farmers’ income, as well as boost the country’s sugarcane production.

The SBF project seeks to improve the productivity of sugarcane farms that are collectively managed by cooperatives. According to DAR Assistant Regional Director Paramon D. Furigay, sugarcane would be great in increasing the farmers’ income and the town’s soil is good for plantation based on studies.

Block farming was introduced in the pilot farms in 2012 by the SRA in collaboration with DAR and the Department of Agriculture.

“With the capacity-building, technical assistance, farm planning and farm management support provided by DAR and the SRA, all the pilot block farms showed an increase in productivity that ranged from 7.47 percent to 100 percent,” SBF focal person Aldwin Addun explained.

According to the SRA, pilot sugar block farms in Negros Island showed an average increase from 50.78 tons cane per hectare (TC/Ha) to 65.29 TC/Ha, or a 29-percent increase in farm productivity in the crop year 2013-2014 after being enrolled in the block farming program for a year.

This average 29-percent increase in productivity would translate to an estimated average increase of farmers' income by P39,815 per hectare, at 1.96 LKG/TC and a composite price of P1,400 per LKG-bag of raw sugar, the SRA said.

DAR expects to have the same result with the 44 farmer-beneficiaries of the Malasi Lake Producers Cooperative, the local cooperative in Cabagan, which will manage a 35-hectare sugar block farm. 

“The project will initially establish a nursery for high-yielding varieties of sugarcane and a techno-demo farm to showcase better technologies in sugarcane production,” Furigay explained.

Under the partnership, DAR will award sugar-block farm operators with heavy equipment like tractors for land preparation and dump trucks for hauling. The SRA, on the other hand, will provide technical trainings to farmers to further boost farm production.news national 1 pix 2 aug 16 2017

Block farming is the consolidation of the management of small farms of less than five hectares into a bigger farm of at least 30 hectares for farm productivity improvement. Ownership of the lands, however, remains with agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

Furigay and Cabagan Mayor Christopher Mamauag headed the sugarcane block farming launch at SANTA Agrarian Reform Community (ARC) in San Antonio, Cabagan last July 31. (Cristina B. Bautista)

Photo 1: DAR Assistant Regional Director Paramon Furigay and Municipal Mayor Christopher Mamauag cut the cermonial ribbon at the Sugarcane Block Farm Project Site in San Antonio, Cabagan.

Photo 2: DAR officials and staff together with the local government unit of Cabagan pose with the farmer beneficiaries during the Sugarcane Block Farm launch.

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MARIANO: LET’S NOT PIT THE POOR AGAINST THE POOR, DAR calls out Nograles’ proposal to reduce DAR budget to fund free tuition law

news national 1 pix 1 aug 14 2017Representative Karlo Nograles’ proposal to reduce the proposed P10.28-billion budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for the funding of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act is ‘state abandonment and it pits the poor against the poor,’ said DAR chief Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano.

Based on the fund utilization report submitted by DAR to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the 2016 unobligated allotment as of December last year is only P2.34-billion as compared to the P5-billion quoted by the chair of the House Committee on Appropriations.

“Free tuition is equally important as students are enabled to exercise their right to education. Agrarian reform is founded on the right of landless farmers and farmworkers to directly and indirectly own the lands they till,” Mariano said.

In the 2017 DAR report, the agency’s budget was allotted for the delivery of its three major outputs – land tenure security, agrarian justice delivery and agrarian reform beneficiary development and sustainability.

With the proposed budget reduction, Mariano added that DAR can’t afford to reduce the services delivered to poor Filipino farmers as change has already been brought to the agrarian sector.

Sources from the House of Representatives who attended the deliberation said that the proposal came as a surprise considering that most members of the committee and other representatives proposed to augment DAR’s budget during the hearing of the agency’s proposed 2018 budget.

The agency is proposing an increase of 48 percent or P16 billion for 2018 from P10.8 in 2017. Mariano said that the agency’s proposed budget does not even comprise a percent of the P3.767-trillion national budget in the National Expenditure Program (NEP).

“We recognize the right to education of the Filipino youth, but why source funds from the sector that also needs more government support?” Mariano asked. “To fully emancipate all landless peasants from the bondage of the soil, all forms and remnants of feudalism and other types of unjust tenurial arrangements must be completely abolished,” he added.

The DAR chief explained he believes in the good intention of Rep. Nograles to find possible sources of funds that will support the free tuition law. However, he asserted that the agrarian reform program is equally important as this ensures social justice for the poor farmers and tillers of the land, and the realization of genuine agrarian reform with free distribution of lands as the basic principle and central goal.

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DAR inks partnership with Aboitiz and Pilmico

news national 2 pix 1 aug 10 2017QUEZON CITY (Aug. 10, 2017)—The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) signed a livelihood program partnership agreement with the Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (AFI) and Pilmico Foods Corporation to increase the household income of farmers by developing and improving their business enterprises.

DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano said the community-based partnership in under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of the government.

“The partnership is geared towards a common goal of improving the lives of farmers by helping them develop their agricultural enterprises. This will be conducted by helping them establish livelihood businesses like piglet dispersal, chicken egg production and bakery business,” Mariano said.

The livelihood projects will benefit 1,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries in six provinces namely, La Union, Pampanga, Camarines Sur, Surigao del Norte, South Cotabato and Western Samar.

Prior to the agreement signing, Undersecretary for Support Services Rosalina Bistoyong said the DAR has conducted feasibility studies on the sustainability and success rate of each business endeavors.

“According to our studies, an increase in farmers’ income by 1.5 percent per month is expected. This, of course, depends on the frequency of baking, or how many eggs and pigs are sold by the farmer,” explains Bistoyong.

She said that sustainability of the starter kits (for the piglet dispersal, chicken egg production and bakery business) after a year of operation is also seen.

Under the agreement, Pilmico shall provide for the farmers their technical expertise on piglet dispersal, chicken egg production and bakery store management. Pilmico shall also deliver piglets, egg-laying hens, animal feeds, egg-laying machines, bags of baking flour and starter kits (basic appliances) for the bakery business.

The AFI, on the other hand, shall provide funding for the establishment of each livelihood project. The AFI would also provide capability trainings and would continuously monitor the process of establishing the livelihood projects.

DAR, for its part, shall provide microfinance services to the farmers such as loans, savings and insurance to help them gain collateral for their agri-business. The DAR would also link the farmers’ businesses to a wider market.news national 2 pix 2 aug 10 2017

The signing of the livelihood program partnership agreement was held at the DAR central office in Quezon City.

Present during the signing were: Pilmico President & CEO Sabin Aboitiz, 1st VP (FVP) and COO of Aboitiz Foundation Inc. Maribeth Marasigan, FVP for Gov’t. Relations David Jude Sta. Ana of Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV), AEV Manager Mirchelle de Guzman, Pilmico VP for Corporate Strategy & Business Dev’t. Santanina Castro and AEV Vice President for Gov’t. Relations Christopher Camba, DAR Underecretaries Sylvia Mallari and Karlo Bello and DAR Head Executive Assistant Luz Perez.

Photo 1: DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano signs the partner ship agreement between DAR, Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (AFI) and Pilmico Foods Corporation to increase the household income of farmers by developing and improving their business enterprises. (From left to right) DAR Undersecretary for Support Services Rosalina Bistoyong, Pilmico President & CEO Sabin Aboitiz, Secretary Mariano and COO of Aboitiz Foundation Inc. Maribeth Marasigan.

Photo 2: Present during the signing were: Pilmico President & CEO Sabin Aboitiz, 1st VP (FVP) and COO of Aboitiz Foundation Inc. Maribeth Marasigan, FVP for Gov’t. Relations David Jude Sta. Ana of Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV), AEV Manager Mirchelle de Guzman, Pilmico VP for Corporate Strategy & Business Dev’t. Santanina Castro and AEV Vice President for Gov’t. Relations Christopher Camba, DAR Underecretaries Sylvia Mallari and Karlo Bello and DAR Head Executive Assistant Luz Perez.

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