SALCEDO, Eastern Samar – An opportunity not only for the recipient agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO) but for the entire municipality as well is how Mayor Melchor Mergal of this fifth-class municipality perceives the refrigerated closed van provided by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), rather than just plain assistance.
During the turnover of the delivery vehicle worth ₱1.8 million to the FEA Agrarian Reform Cooperative (FEA ARCo) early this month, Mergal stressed, “It is not only an ordinary refrigerated van. It offers a whole lot of opportunity where we can start the engagements of our farmers to multi-corporations because we have the facility.”
Thus, Mergal encouraged FEA ARCo to sustain their operation because according to him, “It’s not only your organization that will be benefited but the whole municipality as well.”
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Gilberto Apilado said, FEA ARCo, though situated in the remote village of Iberan in this town, is one of the progressive ARBOs in Eastern Samar. Aside from being producer of various crops and processed foods, they also serve as consolidator of farmers’ products throughout the province, particularly cassava and cacao.
Chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division at the DAR Regional Office, Melecia Ong, explained that they recommended FEA ARCo to be the recipient of the delivery truck in Eastern Visayas because this ARBO has never received a common service facility from DAR yet.
Ong, who represented Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay in the turnover rite, disclosed that FEA ARCo upon evaluation by DAR Central Office passed the criteria, including marketing arrangements with institutional markets.
FEA ARCo at present has existing marketing contracts with the Department of Health retained hospitals, Department of Education, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and San Miguel Corporation for their products ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to processed foods. “They indeed need this type of facility to keep the freshness of perishable products,” Ong added.
She further disclosed that this facility was funded under DAR’s PaSSOver: ARBold Move for Deliverance of our Farmers from the COVID-19 Pandemic project hoping to bolster the role of ARBOs as frontliners in the food supply chain by helping them overcome the obstacles in the consolidation, marketing, and delivery of farm products.
Meanwhile, FEA ARCo Chairman Luis Bayarong considers this assistance as an investment for them to be able to help others too.
In acceptance, he revealed their immediate plan to use the refrigerated closed van in delivering dressed chickens and fresh eggs which they supply throughout the province.
Mayor Melgar was so thankful for the assistance DAR has extended to his constituents which according to him, “the local government could not provide due to our limited resources”.
“An amon nala, an pagbulig paglink ha magkadurudilain nga ahensya,” (For our part, we will help link them to the different agencies) said Melgar. (JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA)