BUTUAN CITY—Forty-five farmers here are relieved after waiting for their income from their land in the form of economic benefits, which should have been given to them seven years ago.
The economic benefits consisted of lease rentals from their lands and profits earned from enterprises operated by the cooperatives.
Today, during the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries’ (ARBs) Congress, Agrarian Reform Secretary Mariano awarded 45 farmer-members of the NGEI Multi-Purpose Cooperative their economic benefit amounting to a total of P1.98 million.
Mariano said the seven-year delay was due to problems in revalidating original agrarian-reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in 1988 and those who became members after 1988.
The problem arose when the two original farmer groups of the NGEI and the NGPI Multi-Purpose Cooperatives started encountering problems in running their respective cooperatives, which resulted in some disgruntled members to resign from their cooperatives.
“Some of them encouraged those who resigned to join them in forming their own group,” Mariano explained.
Through the intervention of DAR Undersecretary for Field Operations Marcos Risonar Jr., a total of 120 farmer-members of the NGEI-MPC received their economic benefit worth P5.1 million last October 3, 2016.
Under Risonar’s directive, the DAR-Caraga started the re-validation process last May 18, 2016 including those of the NDC Guthrie Plantation Incorporated Multi-Purpose Cooperative (NGPI-MPC), another cooperative also established in 1988.
During the ARBs’ Congress, some 733 farmers belonging to nine ARB organizations received P40.3 million worth of credit assistance from the DAR’s Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP).
In his speech, Mariano said the APCP program aims to prevent ARBs from selling or leasing their farmlands.
“The APCP program would prevent our farmers from resorting to borrow from loan sharks who abuse them,” said Mariano.
DAR Regional Director Julita Ragandang said the credit assistance is available for farmer-beneficiaries for land preparation, farm cultivation and harvest, including their expenses on seeds, fertilizer, among others.
The ARBs’ Congress is a two-day event that gathered more than 400 ARBs in Caraga to hear Secretary Mariano talk about his thrusts and priorities. It was also a venue where the DAR distributed economic benefits, loan credits, launched a project and distributed certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) to ARBs.
Photo 1: Representatives from the Ronquilo group receving their economic benefits from DAR officials namely Secretary Mariano, Undersecretary Marcos Risonar Jr., Undersecretary Sylvia Mallari, Regional Director Julita Ragandang and Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Leoncio Bautista Jr.
Photo 2: Undersecretary for Field Operations Marcos Risonar Jr. intervened for the farmer beneficiaries to get their economic benefits.
Photo 3: Nine farmers-organizations receive credit assistance pose with their checks worth P40.3 million.