QUEZON CITY, Aug. 9 — Agrarian Secretary Rafael Mariano instructed the DAR regional office to give free legal advice and to take the necessary steps towards resolving the issues and concerns of farmers. In the dialogue with the farmers, he reminded them that when he opened the gates of the DAR central office in Quezon City, in effect, he is also opening all the gates of all the DAR offices in the country.
“If you have problems, the department and its employees will welcome you with open arms. Together, let us help you in resolving your concerns.” With Mariano is DAR Undersecretary for Support Services Rosalina Bistoyong who stated to the farmers that they, the DAR officials are there to hear and understand their concerns. She encouraged the farmers to be a member of farmers’ organizations. She stressed the importance of organizing themselves into agrarian reform beneficiary organization (ARBOs) for faster flow of support services.
The DAR would be able to help more of you if you are organized into bona fide farmers’ cooperatives. Through your cooperative, projects and programs of the Department like access to credit and livelihood programs will be available for you,” Bistoyong said.
On his way to Fardeco, Mariano stopped by a cabled tramline that farmers here use to transport crops. For a fee of P150 per kilo of cargo load, farmers transport their crops from Sitio Balingoos, a mountainous area where 130 hectares of high-value crops like cacao, banana, abaca and vegetables are planted by about 200 farmers residing there. The 1.1-kilometer cabled tramline was a project of the Department of Agriculture.
DAR officials with Mariano were: Incoming Undersecretary Sylvia Mallari, Davao Regional Director John Maruhom and the DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officers namely Eduardo Suaybaguio, Ernesto Tan, Jocelyn Seno, Elmer Gerigdig and Atty. Joebar Pondoc. Also present were people from Task Force Mapalad (TFM), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Ugnayan ng mga Nagsasariling Lokal na Organisasyon sa Kanayunan (Unorka). The dialogue was held at the Farmers Development Cooperative (Fardeco) in Baguio District, Davao City. (DAR)