Congress approves 2019 DAR Proposed Budget

news national 1 pix 1 september 24 2018Quezon City – It only took 26 minutes for the members of the lower house to approve the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) proposed 2019 budget during the Plenary Budget Hearing on the proposed House Bill (HB) 8169 or the 2019 General Appropriations Bill held at the House of Representatives at the dawn of September 20, 2018.

The DAR had to wait for about fourteen hours (12 noon of September 19 to 2:22 A.M. the following day) in the venue together with the other government agencies seeking budget approvals.

Michael John “Jack” Duavit, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Appropriations, acted as the sponsor of the DAR during interpellations.

Albay Congressman Edcel Lagman approached the podium but only to express his faith in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). “I will not interpellate on the proposed budget for DAR because I have authored many laws since the start of CARP implementation” Lagman said. He also added “Even if there will be a problem in the implementation of the CARP, there will always be a way to resolve it”.

House Minority Floor Leader Danilo Suarez, one of the few interpellators, asked if the agricultural lands owned by Lumads are covered by CARP. “The lands owned by the Lumads are covered by CARP except those lands in the ancestral domains” Duavit answered.

The proposed 8.2 billion pesos 2019 budget for DAR will be allotted to various program components of the CARP such as Land Tenure Services (PhP 2,655,214.00), Agrarian Justice Delivery (PhP 841,195.00), Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Services (PhP 1,994,561.00), Operations (PhP 5,067,781), and the rest are allotted to General Administration and Support (GAS) and Support to Operations (STO).

DAR Secretary John R. Castriciones is very thankful to the members of the lower house for the speedy approval of DAR’s proposed budget. “I am very happy because of the very swift decision of the Congressmen who approved the budget for DAR”. Castriciones said.

Castriciones also explained that many farmers will benefit from this approval. “This will definitely boost the morale of our workers or employees because it will really benefit our officials and employees and at the same time our constituents, particularly the farmers themselves. We are very thankful”. Castriciones added.

From 1972 to June 2018, around 2.849 million agrarian reform beneficiaries have received their own lands to till covering a total area of about 4.865 million hectares of agricultural lands.

Photo: Congressmen and DAR top officials in fruitful discussions the during the Plenary Budget Hearing on the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Bill held at the House of Representatives on September 20, 2018.

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