MANILA – When President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office in June 2022 and new Cabinet leaders are appointed, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones hopes reforms and programs will continue.
Castriciones is specifically looking forward to the distribution of more Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) to rightful applicants.
"Hindi na lamang pamimigay ng lupa ang ginagawa ng Agrarian Reform. Nagkaroon po ng paradigm shift. Pagkatapos po natin silang bigyan ng lupa (DAR do not just give land to applicants. The Department has made a paradigm shift. After distributing land), we also offer them various support services that will arm them with the knowledge to properly handle their newly acquired assets," Castriciones said in during the recent Duterte Legacy virtual briefer led by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) under Secretary Martin Andanar.
Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) upholds the right of farmers and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof.
Castriciones said DAR facilitates workshops and trainings for Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs), who learn the right handling of equipment, necessary machines to be procured, and the market and other institutions that will serve as their direct consumers.
"They have served many years as farmers reliant on landowners for management skills. We are teaching them to become entrepreneurs themselves so they are educated on how to make their lives better. They do not have to depend on others or on middlemen that only cut their profits," he added.
Other DAR major projects are the expansion of farm-to-market road networks for convenient transport of produce to markets and other buyers and financial programs under the Agricultural Credit Policy Council as another loan option.
Additionally, DAR tapped partner institutions like the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and government hospitals to buy directly from ARBs.
Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty Program, a partnership where government institutions converged to support the poor in the countryside, is another DAR program that assists ARBs. (PNA)