DAR to probe business venture arrangements entered into by Mindanaoan farmers, tribal folks

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news national 2 pix 1 july 27 2016AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano has vowed to look into issues and concerns raised by about a thousand of Mindanaoan farmers and tribal folks, who asked him to reestablish their footing on farms and ancestral lands that had been taken from them through various schemes.

Mariano ordered Undersecretary for Field Operations Marcos Resonar to dig deeper into the problems that prompted the farmers and tribal folks to march from Mindanao to Metro Manila and pleaded to the DAR Secretary to look into their problems involving the agribusiness venture arrangements (AVAs) that they had entered into with individual or group of investors.

The DAR chief heeded their clamor and directed all DAR regional directors and provincial officials to “hold in abeyance until further notice” the implementation of the Administrative Order (AO) No. 4, series of 2016 and subject the same to further review and consultation.

The said Administrative Order No. 4, series of 2016 regulates and governs the establishment of agribusiness venture arrangements (AVAs) between a group or multiple individual agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and an investor(s).

Mariano tapped Undersecretaries for Support Service and for Legal Affairs to join hands in overseeing the conduct of the consultative meetings in all regional and provincial offices between and among all stakeholders of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Resonar is said to be flying to Mindanao on Wednesday next week and spend the rest of the week meeting with various organizations of agrarian reform beneficiaries and tribal groups that are having problems with the AVAs, which were found to be filled with provisions that are disadvantageous to them.

Mariano said his directive to suspend the Administrative Order No. 4, series of 2016 is meant to thresh out and resolve some onerous provisions in the AVAs that were found to be disadvantageous to the farmers and tribal folks and favorable to the investors.

The farmers and tribal folks said they were sweet-talked into entering into such arrangements, from which they could not get off without risking the loss of their prized possessions – lands.

Mariano said a new administrative order on AVA is being readied by the DAR, which would contain provisions for full protection of ARBs venturing into agribusiness agreements with individual and group of investors.