QUEZON CITY, Aug. 26 — Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano gave a short briefing on agrarian reform on his first meeting with the Senate Committee on Agrarian Reform chaired by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.Mariano presented his thrusts and policy directives for the Department. He likewise presented the issues and concerns the department is currently facing.
In response, Cayetano said in their future committee meetings with the DAR, he would create a technical working group who will address the agrarian beneficiaries’ problems on land amortization.
“In our next committee meeting, give us a list of projects that we can work on. We can help link farmers’ products to international markets,” encouraged Cayetano.
At the briefing, committee member Senator Cynthia Villar informed Mariano that the DAR has funding worth P300-M, which the DAR can use for agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
“This [funds] will be received by DAR for the next 10 years. It will come from the sugar industry project that we have passed during the 16th congress. The beneficiaries are ARBs,” explained Villar.
At the meeting, Villar also instructed the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to device ways for farmers avail of loans coming from the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).
“At present, ACEF has P5 billion in the LBP. This funds will be a big help for farmers,” said Villar.
Cayetano told Mariano to let the committee “be your advocate for agrarian reform. We will let your voice be heard by the national media. I will also include your concerns in government endeavors.” (DAR)