More than one hundred agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from the different municipalities of Misamis Occidental were present at the People’s Dialogue held recently at the Provincial Farmers Training Center, Capitol Compound, Oroquieta City.
DAR Regional Director Faisar Mambuay said the People’s Dialogue was conducted to resolve issues and concerns arising from the programs and projects of government agencies for farmers.
“Dialogues like this help clear obstacles that are stalling the delivery of programs and projects of the department. It also helps in strengthening our working relationship with our stakeholders,” said Mambuay.
Beneficiaries of government agencies present at the People’s Dialogue include the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries of DSWD, Barangay Health Workers of DOH, Handog Titulo beneficiaries of DENR.
During the dialogue, each group of beneficiaries were given time to give their testimonies on how government programs benefited them. They were also given time to ask questions to the representatives of national agencies present during the dialogue on issues concerning them.
Mambuay said that during the dialogue, agrarian reform beneficiaries presented three issues affecting them. “First, the effect of climate change to agriculture, second is on government financial support to agricultural production, and third, on the continuity of support services programs for ARBs beyond 2016.”
As a response, DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Herman Ongkiko, who represented the DAR Secretary, underscored the major programs implemented and facilitated by DAR. He assured the farmers of the department’s provision of support services to agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organizations in the agrarian reform areas.
Ongkiko also informed the farmers that “as part of our adaptation and mitigation measures against the effect of climate change, the DAR is currently updating and preparing climate-proofed Agrarian Reform Community Development Plans to help you cope with climate change.”
At the dialogue, Teresito Marata Sr. and Almer Galabin Sr., both ARBs and farmer leaders from Tangub City and Plaridel respectively, expressed gratitude for the CARP.
“I was able to send my four children to college because of the program,” Marata said in his testimony. “Now, they are all gainfully employed with two of them working abroad,” he proudly added.
For his part, Galabin recalled how the CARP had afforded some 167 tenant-farmers of Mamanga Daku, Plaridel the biggest opportunity of their lifetime. About 139 hectares of agricultural land formerly owned by the Chiongbian family, owner of Virginia Farms Incorporated, was offered to sell to the government’s agrarian reform program for “one peso,” the cheapest landholding ever valued under CARP coverage.
“As chairman of the ARB cooperative, I am very thankful for the various support services projects like farm to market roads, communal irrigation projects, potable water supply, livelihood projects and common service facilities (pre/post-harvest facilities) implemented by DAR and other CARP implementing agencies which benefited our organization” Galabin said. (Arnold V. Quicoy)
Photo: DAR Undersecretary Herman Z. Ongkiko (standing) discusses CARP support services concerns during the People’s Dialogue in Oroquieta City.