Ormoc farmers excited over first harvest after installation

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After 16 years of waiting, members of the Bugho Farmers Association (BFA) in Ormoc City are excited for their first harvest this coming month of October.

Rosenda Apay, chairperson of the BFA, happily announced this after thanking the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for their installation during a dialogue held at the Palo chancery early this month.

Apay, 56, is grateful and relieved that they were finally installed to their awarded lots in Barangay Matca-a on June this year.

Immediately after their installation, the said farmers cultivated the rice fields and are now expecting their first harvest early next month.
Regional Director Sheila Enciso said the installation of the BFA was delayed by a legal battle as the Fran Farm Workers Association (FFWA) questioned in court the selection of the former as agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

“It was only recently that the issue was settled amicably when BFA offered 21 of the 46 hectares to the rival group. At present, whatever differences this the two rival groups had are now a thing of the past,” said Enciso.

Enciso said the farmers’ installation was a collective effort of the DAR with the help of the Philippine National Police, the Commission on Human Rights and the non-government organization RIGHTS Network.

In support to the farmers, Enciso has ordered Assistant Regional Director for Program Beneficiaries Development Ismael Aya-ay to coordinate with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to extend the supply of water to these areas.

Present at the farmers’ dialogue were Assistant Secretary Elmer Distor and Atty. Jobert Pahilga from central office who promised DAR’s full support to the farmers. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)

Photo 1: Regional Director Sheila Enciso (second from left) brief Assistant Secretary Elmer Distor (second from right) and Atty. Jobert Pahilga (right) about the issues raised by protesting farmers during a dialogue held recently at the Palo chancery in Leyte.

Photo 2: Assistant Secretary Elmer Distor (3rd from left) and Atty. Jobert Pahilga (4th from left) assured the farmers that their concerns will be resolved under the administration of Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano. Also in photo are (left-right) Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Renato Badilla and Regional Director Sheila Enciso.