The Senate on Monday, October 9 approved the 10.27-B 2018 proposed budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
With nobody wanting to interpolate or question the budget, the Senate approved the P10.27 billion proposed budget in less than five minutes.
Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, pushed DAR to earmark more for the development and sustainability programs of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs).
Villar also urged DAR to allocate more for the provision of farm machines and equipment.
“The barriers of farmers toward stability and competitiveness is mechanization so we have to mechanize both in the aspect of producing the product and in processing,” she said.
Secretary Rosalina Bistoyong said DAR under the Duterte administration will work to provide sufficient support to farmers and further develop the agriculture sector of the country.
The P10.27 -billion proposed budget under the 2018 National Expenditure Program (NEP) includes, among others, a P1.59-billion allocation for general administration and support as well as P693.4 million for support to operations, which include funding for policy formulation, planning, monitoring and agrarian reform information and education.
DAR’s Land Tenure Security Program has a P2.86-billion budget, Agrarian Justice Delivery Program (P935.7 million) and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development and Sustainability Program (P1.87 billion) under the 2018 NEP.
DAR has been able to distribute 4.74 million hectares to 2.8 million agrarian reform beneficiaries from 1972 to March 2017.
“This year, DAR targets to distribute a total of 48,588 hectares to 46,253 agrarian reform beneficiaries. From January to June 2017, DAR has already covered a total of 11,356 hectares,” Bistoyong said.
The Agrarian Reform department has a beginning balance of 602,306 hectares this year.
For 2018, DAR aims to distribute 53,841 hectares of land that will benefit 46,072 agrarian reform beneficiaries.
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