DAPITAN CITY, Zamboanga del Norte – A boost in economic and development opportunities in the Zamboanga Peninsula will be experienced by farmers as the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) poured various rural infrastructure and livelihood projects in support for the sustainable rural development program of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
“The Zamboanga Peninsula, whose residents consists mainly of farmers and fisherfolks, will greatly benefit from these infrastructure facilities. These [infra projects] will enhance the rural economy and in the process, create job opportunities,” said DAR Secretary John Castriciones.
Castriciones together with Undersecretary for Support Services Rosalina Bistoyong led the turn-over of the rural development projects worth P404 million in a certificate of land ownership award (CLOA) distribution ceremony for 997 farmer-beneficiaries held at the Dapitan City Cultural and Sports Center, Dapitan City on Friday, March 9.
“The CLOAs are just the first step towards more support from the government. We will follow President Duterte’s national goal of improving the economic lives of our farmers by pouring various support services to farm communities,” said Castriciones.
The multi-million project includes the rehabilitation and construction of 13 farm-to-market roads, two communal irrigation systems, one 28.8 linear meter bridge, provision of potable water facilities, provision of rubber seedlings, fertilizers, swine production, provision of farm tools, construction of post-harvest facilities and processing centers for abaca mat-weaving and other handicrafts.
Support Services Undersecretary Rosalina Bistoyong said “these projects are significant in achieving progress in rural communities. These facilities are not only implemented to make life easier for our farmers but also to sustain the development of their communities.”
“More than 10,000 ARBs will benefit from these projects. But not only our farmers, these [projects] would also directly benefit residents, around 23,000 households in Zamboanga peninsula,” Bistoyong said.
The DAR also turned over farm tools, fertilizers, rubber seedlings and various livelihood projects which will be distributed to agrarian cooperatives in the Zamboanga Peninsula.
DAR Regional Director Julita Ragandang said that under the DAR Partnership Development Projects, the department will construct processing centers for handicrafts like abaca mat-weaving centers and community-managed potable water supply, sanitation and hygiene (CPWASH).
“These processing centers is where the farmers who are mostly women, conduct their livelihood projects of mat-weaving and make handicrafts out of abaca to sell for additional family income,” Ragandang said.
“The CPWASH will be constructed to provide potable water to remote farming communities,” she added.
Likewise, four tribal centers and three multi-purpose centers with solar dryers were also turned-over.
Ragandang said the tribal centers would accommodate indigenous people (IPs), who will use these centers for processing and sell their crops. The multi-purpose centers with solar dryers, on the other hand, would address the problem of inadequacy of postharvest facilities of farmers.
“A lot of our farmers here do not have solar pavements to dry their agricultural products. They are relying on adjacent places for drying,” said Ragandang.
The DAR officials present during the CLOA distribution and turn-over of projects include DAR Undersecretaries Luis Pangulayan of legal affairs office, Karlo Bello of field operations office, Rosalina Bistoyong of Support Services, David Erro of policy & planning office, Bernie Cruz of Special Concerns Office and Public Assistance & Media Relations Service Director Leomides R. Villareal.
Land Registration Authority (LRA) Administrator Renato Bermejo was also present during the distribution ceremony.
The local officials present during the event include Dapitan City Mayor Rosalina Jalosjos and representatives from the departments of interior & local government (DILG), agriculture (DA), irrigation (NIA) and environment and natural resources (DENR).
Photo 1: Secretary John Castriciones (in white) inspecting some of the farm machines for turn-over to agrarian cooperatives.
Photo 2: Undersecretary Rosalina Bistoyong and Regional Director Julita Ragandang presents to the Secretary the various support services received by agrarian reform communities.
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