PAGADIAN CITY, 23 Aug (PIA) – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Region 9 conducted a Regional Farmers’ Forum which was capped with a fellowship night on August 18 at the Subanen Hall, Provincial Government Complex, Dao, this city.With the theme “Pagyamanin ang lupang iginawad, upang ang buhay ay umunlad,” the forum is aimed to strengthen DAR’s partnership and coordination with the local government units (LGUs), national government agencies (NGAs), private sectors, civil society organizations and stakeholders in the farming industry.
Further, it targets to more vigorously implement and hasten the programs and projects for the assisted Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) to enhance their agricultural enterprise development.
In his keynote speech, USec. Marcos Risonar said 16 million Filipinos voted for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. “These people pinned their hope that this man will liberate the country from the clutches of corruption, drug addiction, insurgency and mass poverty. You and me took part in that exercise. You and me will see to it that real change will come.”
“This change would mean that we shall take part in the devolution to change the government and its practices,” he further said.
“The Duterte administration could not do it alone. He needs the support of the 16 million people who put him to office. What then is the relevance of agrarian reform and its accompanying programs and activities in the devolution that is forthcoming?” Risonar asked.
“We shall be part of the delivery of social justice by way of land reform and upliftment of the marginalized farmers. We shall no longer rely on merely distributing lands. We shall move forward and step out of the traditional box,” Risonar emphasized.
“While it is true that giving lands to the landless will improve his economic status, yet, it is a truism that land alone is not enough,” he added.
Usec Risomar lauded DAR-9 headed by Regional Director Felix B. Aguhob for the initiative in undertaking programs and activities to help agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) which are now bearing fruit. DAR has to go further so that the lowly farmer can take off, and by himself cut his bondage to the soil.
He underscored the increased income of farmers with the introduction of several income-generating activities which liberated them from dependence on capitalist or financiers.
Over 200 farmers, DAR officials and employees from the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur including Zamboanga City and Basilan, together with partner agencies and other stakeholders attended the forum. (ALT/CAL/PIA9-Zamboanga del Sur)