Cagayan de Oro - Heavy rains failed to dampen the spirit of the 1,700 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental as they came in droves to have their voice heard in the ARB Cooperative Summit here on July 29.
The Summit was one of the major events that highlighted the 27th CARP anniversary celebration of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Northern Mindanao (Region 10).
Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno welcomed the farmers and guests from partner agencies and institutions. As a former governor of Misamis Oriental, he cited his experience in the transformation of Barangay Lantad, a former no man’s land into a land of hope, and fulfillment with the help of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the active partnership of the local government unit and the DAR.
Regional Director Faisar A. Mambuay presented the status of CARP implementation in Region 10 based on land tenure services, agrarian legal services and support services.
Mambuay reported that as of March 31, 2015, DAR-10 has reached a cumulative accomplishment of 90% of the total scope of the land acquisition and distribution component of the CARP. He also said that 654 foreign-assisted projects worth P2.82 billion have been completed in agrarian reform communities (ARCs).
Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, the guest of honor during the occasion, acknowledged the presence of farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon who staged the historic “walk for land, walk for justice” from Mindanao to Manila in 2007.
“The Sumilao farmers served as the inspiration in the advocacy for agrarian reform in the country. They are now receiving support services to show that small farmers can be successful if given enough support from the government,” Ledesma said.
Ledesma cited the case of Aling Dorita Vargas of Negros Occidental who on June 14, 2012 got Pres. Aquino’s assurance that she would soon get her land. To this day, Aling Dorita still remains landless.
His Eminence assured the farmers and other stakeholders in the audience that “the church will always support social justice measures, the CARP in particular.”
The Catholic Bishops of the Philippines (CBCP) is supporting House Bill 4296 which seeks to renew DAR’s authority to issue Notices of Coverage for the remaining 700,000 hectares still to be covered, and House Bill 4375 which call for the creation of an independent Agrarian Reform Commission to review the actual accomplishments of the CARP.
Reiterating his support to the program, the prelate exhorted the farmers in attendance to continue to be the example of how agrarian reform can bring about the transformation of rural society and to help in the overall development of the country.
During the occasion, representatives of the beneficiaries and other stakeholders gave testimonies of how they overcame life’s adversities and challenges with the interventions they received under the CARP.
Benjamin Magtajas of Bukidnon spoke for the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs). Warlie Juario and Ryan Anthony Cawaing shared their experience as recipients of the DAR’s Programang Agraryo Iskolar assistance.
Teresito Marata, Sr. of Misamis Occidental represented the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and Jose Loreto Procianos, Jr. as Regional PARCCOM (Provincial Agrarian Reform Coordinating Committee) Chair.
DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Herman Z. Ongkiko graced the occasion in behalf of Sec. Virgilio de los Reyes. He shared the news that Pres. Aquino has approved CONVERGE (Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement and Rural Growth), a project for the benefit of agrarian reform community (ARC) clusters in Region 10.
The identified clusters include MISORET in Misamis Oriental (Kinoguitan, Sugbongcogon, Binuangan, Salay, Lagonglong and Balingasag), Northern Bukidnon ARC cluster (Manolo Fortich and Libona), Southern Bukidnon Integrated ARC cluster (Maramag, Pangantucan and Kalilangan) and Camiguin cluster (Mambajao, Sagay, Guinsiliban, Mahinog and Catarman).
The signing of the pledge of support for the CARP then followed during which the participants and guests affixed their signature on the tarpaulins prepared for the purpose.
Earlier on June 25-28, a photo exhibit and product showcase was held to showcase the gains of the CARP in Northern Mindanao for the past 26 years. (Editha R. Salvador)
His Eminence, Arch. Antonio J. Ledesma (right) is ready to receive the plaque of appreciation as Guest of Honor during the ARC Coop Summit held in Cagayan de Oro recently. With him are (from left) DAR-10 Asst. Regional Directors Eddie C. Agac-ac and Teresita E. Depeñoso and Regional Director Faisar A. Mambuay.
Part of the crowd during the ARB coop summit that mostly include CARP beneficiaries Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental.