About the Secretary

Bernie Cruz as DAR acting chief

President Rodrigo Duterte has tapped DAR Undersecretary Bernie Cruz to be the acting chief of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), as he signed Cruz’s appointment paper on Oct. 28, 2021.

Cruz served as DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted Projects Office (FASPO) before his appointment as DAR Acting Secretary. He is a man of few words but a person of significant action.

This no-nonsense character made him the choice of former Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones as head of the agency’s Foreign- Assisted and Special Projects Office and under Special Order No. 523, series of 2018, acted as the project implementation officer of the DAR official development assistance (ODA) portfolio.

Upon his assumption as the FASPO lead, he immediately visited various areas in Mindanao under the coverage of three foreign-assisted special projects to determine issues and concerns encountered in the course of their implementation.

The three projects are the Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development (MinSAAD) Project, Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (Project ConVERGE) and the Italian- Agrarian Reform Communities Development Support Project (IARCSDP).

He closely coordinated with other partners, urging them to support the many projects of the Department to ensure continued delivery of support services to its farmer-beneficiaries.

He displayed his commitment when the DAR, through the FASPO in cooperation with the National Irrigation Administration, turned over 313 water system projects nationwide. The total project cost amounts to P2-billion.

The  DAR, through FASPO, also constructed 177 bridge project nationwide. This project, now with a total of 10,436 linear meters, is implemented under the Tulay ng Pangulo Para sa KaunlaranProject.

The FASPO’s  Project ConVERGE were implemented in Region 9,10 and CARAGA. A total of 11,560 ARBs (33,029 households) benefited from 24 farm to market roads, one bridge, 11 warehouses, 2 potable water supply, 13 solar dryers and 1 irrigation project.

The Italian Assistance to the Agrarian Reform Community (IARCSDP) provided various infra projects to 18,000 ARBs (53,000 households from Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao. A 1.5-billion loan was provided to the government to implement these projects.

Under the Mindano Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development or MinSAAD Project, the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat benefited from 38 farm to market roads, 14 bridges, 19 irrigation, 65 post-harvest facilities, 25 rural water supply, 65 agribusiness dev’t, 54 agroforestry development and 290 people’s organization (32,623 members. Around 69,091 ARBs benefit from the said projects.

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Bernie Cruz bilang DAR acting chief

Itinalaga ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte bilang acting chief ng Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) si DAR Undersecretary Bernie Cruz base sa pinirmahan niyang appointment paper ni Cruz noong Oktubre 28, 2021.

Nagsilbi si Cruz bilang DAR Undersecretary para sa Foreign Assisted Projects Office (FASPO) bago siya naitalagang DAR Acting Secretary. Siya ay isang tao hindi masalita, bagkus isang action man.

Ang  karakter na ito ang naging dahilan upang siya ang napili ni dating Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones na mamuno ng Foreign- Assisted and Special Projects Office (FASPO) ng ahensya at sa ilalim ng Special Order No. 523, series of 2018,  bilang tagapagpatupad ng DAR official development assistance (ODA) portfolio.

Sa kanyang pamumuno ng FASPO, agad niyang binisita ang iba't ibang lugar sa Mindanao na nasa ilalim ng tatlong espesyal na proyektong tinulungan ng ibang bansa upang matukoy ang mga isyu at alalahanin sa kanilang pagpapatupad ng mga proyekto.

Ang tatlong proyekto ay ang Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development (MinSAAD) Project, Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (Project ConVERGE) at ang Italian-Agrarian Reform Communities Development Support Project (IARCSDP).

Siya ay nakipag-ugnayan sa iba pang mga kabalikat na ahensya, kung saan hinimok niya silang suportahan ang maraming proyekto ng kagawaran upang matiyak ang patuloy na paghahatid ng mga suportang serbisyo sa mga magsasakang-benepisyaryo.

Ipinakita niya ang kanyang matatag na pangako sa DAR, sa pamamagitan ng FASPO sa pakikipagtulungan ng National Irrigation Administration, kung saan ito ay nakapag-turn over ng 313 water system projects sa buong bansa. Ang kabuuang halaga ng proyekto ay umaabot sa P2-bilyon.

Ang DAR, sa pamamagitan ng FASPO, ay nagtayo rin ng 177 bridge project sa buong bansa. Ang proyektong ito, na ngayon ay may kabuuang 10,436 linear meters, ay ipinatupad sa ilalim ng Tulay ng Pangulo Para sa Kaunlaran Project.

Ang FASPO Project ConVERGE ay ipinatupad sa Rehiyon 9,10 at CARAGA. May kabuuang 11,560 ARBs (33,029 kabahayan) ang nakinabang sa 24 na farm to market roads, isang tulay, 11 bodega, 2 potable water supply, 13 solar dryer at 1 irrigation project.

Ang Italian Assistance to the Agrarian Reform Community (IARCSDP) ay nagbigay ng iba't ibang infra projects sa 18,000 ARBs (53,000 na kabahayan mula sa Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Sur at Maguindanao. May 1.5-bilyong pautang ang ibinigay sa gobyerno para ipatupad ang mga proyektong ito.

Sa ilalim ng Mindano Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development o MinSAAD Project, nakinabang ang mga lalawigan ng Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, North Cotabato, South Cotabato at Sultan Kudarat sa 38 farm to market roads, 14 na tulay, 19 na irigasyon , 65 post-harvest facility, 25 rural water supply, 65 agribusiness dev't, 54 agroforestry development at 290 people's organization (32,623 miyembro. Nasa 69,091 ARBs ang nakikinabang sa nasabing mga proyekto.

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DAR turns over new leadership

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will turn over on  November 8, 2021, the stewardship of DAR leadership from outgoing Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones to Malacañang appointed Acting Secretary Bernie Ferrer Cruz held at the DAR covered court, Diliman, Quezon City.

Acting Secretary Cruz vowed that he would lead the department in bringing progress in the countryside by prioritizing the needs of the farmer beneficiaries.

Aside from prioritizing farmers’ needs, Cruz also wants to fast-track the distribution of certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), as well as the provision of support programs and services to ARB organizations (ARBOs) and  fast track the cases under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) implementation.

“Under my leadership, the agency would double its effort to distribute all the remaining undistributed lands to the landless farmers, provide support services to ARBs and bring social justice in agrarian reform communities,” he said.

Cruz said farm consolidation may be the best path toward improving agriculture, livelihoods and productivity. He said there are two consolidating initiatives that are already being pursued by the DAR which include the "Mega-Farm" and the Inclusive Partnerships for Agricultural Competitiveness projects.

“Both initiatives are intended to improve market linkages and the competitiveness of farmers and aid the DAR in coordinating with institutional partners that can assist in capital buildup, management skills, and research and development,” Cruz said.

He said the improvements to farm incomes and productivity will also do much to encourage agricultural expansion and inspire succeeding generations to continue farming, both of which are critical to the nation's achieving food security.

“I am committed to bring industrialization in the agricultural sector and through the provisions of support services, such as livelihood opportunities, infrastructure projects, farm machineries and equipment, capability-buildings training, loan facilities, among other support, we can achieve a stable rural economy,” he added

Cruz was the undersecretary for foreign assisted and special projects office prior to his appointment.

Cruz replaces former Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones who is running for senator under the PDP-Laban party in this coming 2022 election.

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DAR maglilipat ng bagong pamumuno

Ipapasa ng Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) sa Nobyembre 8, 2021, ang pamamahala mula sa dating Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones patungo sa itinalaga ng Malacañang na Acting Secretary Bernie Ferrer Cruz na ginanap sa DAR covered court, Diliman, Quezon City.

Nangako si Acting Secretary Cruz na pangungunahan niya ang ahensiya na dalhin ang kaunlaran sa kanayunan at  bigyan prayoridad ang mga pangangailangan ng mga magsasakang-benepisyaryo.

Bukod sa pagbibigay-priyoridad sa mga pangangailangan ng mga magsasaka, nais din ni Cruz na mapabilis ang pamamahagi ng mga certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) sa mga agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB), gayundin ang pagbibigay ng mga  suportang serbisyo sa mga ARB organizations (ARBOs) at pabilisin ang pag resolba ng mga kaso sa ilalim ng pagpapatupad ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

“Sa ilalim ng aking  liderato, dodoblehin ng ahensiya ang pagsisikap na maipamigay ang mga natitirang lupa sa mga magsasakang walang lupain, ang pagkakaloob ng suportang serbisyo sa mga ARBs at pagbibigay ng hustisyang panlipunan sa mga agrarian reform communities,” aniya.

Ayon kay  Cruz na ang pagsasama-sama ng mga lupain  ang pinakamahusay  tungo sa pagpapabuti ng agrikultura, kabuhayan at produksiyon. Aniya, dalawang inisyatiba ang isinusulong ng DAR, kasama na ang proyektong "Mega-Farm" at ang Inclusive Partnerships for Agricultural Competitiveness Project.

"Layunin ng nasabing inisyatiba na mapabuti ang ugnayan sa merkado at makapagkumpitensya ang mga magsasaka at matulungan ang DAR sa pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga katuwang na  institusyon na maaaring tumulong sa pagbuo ng kapital, mga kasanayan sa pamamahala, at pananaliksik at pag-unlad," ani Cruz.

Ipinahayag niya na ang pagpapabuti ng kita at produksyon ng mga magsasaka ay malaking tulong upang mahikayat ang pagpapalago  ng agrikultura at inspirasyon sa mga susunod na henerasyon na ipagpatuloy ang pagsasaka, na parehong kritikal sa pagkamit ng seguridad sa pagkain ng bansa.

“Nakatuon tayo na dalhin ang industriyalisasyon sa sektor ng agrikultura at sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaloob ng suportang serbisyo gaya ng iba’t ibang livelihood opportunities, infrastructure projects, farm machineries at equipment, capability-building trainings, loan facilities, at iba pa, makakamit natin ang matatag na ekonomiya sa kanayunan,” dagdag pa niya.

Si Cruz ay dating undersecretary ng DAR para sa foreign assisted at special projects office bago ang kanyang appointment.

Si Cruz ang humalili kay dating Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones na tatakbo bilang senador sa ilalim ng partidong PDP-Laban sa darating na 2022 eleksyon.

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Former DAR chief formally turns over department's leadership to Secretary Cruz

Former Secretary John Castriciones expresses his gratitude to the department for giving them his trust.

Former agrarian reform chief John Castriciones formally turned over the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) stewardship to Acting Secretary Bernie F. Cruz, on Monday, November 8, 2021, at the DAR Central Office’s gym in Quezon City.

Castriciones asked the top officials and personnel of the department to give their all-out support and full cooperation to the new secretary.

“The DAR has a lot of projects and programs aimed at improving the lives of agrarian reform beneficiaries. The Secretary cannot do it alone and he will be needing you to continue the endeavor that we started,” Castriciones said.

Castriciones also advised Cruz that prudence is important when it comes to leadership.

Cruz said that the keyword in sustaining the progress in the countryside is “continuity.”

“We would continue the DAR’s projects and programs under the current administration. And I am taking this opportunity to ask my deputies and all the men and women of the department to help me in leading the agency,” Cruz said.

The DAR Secretary gave emphasis that it is very difficult to fail in his position because farmers would be the first to suffer from the agency’s setback.  

“Let’s work together and do our contribution in making the country’s agricultural sector a success,” Cruz said.

He also expressed his gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration for the confidence and the opportunity to serve the Filipino people.

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Dating DAR chief pormal na isinalin ang liderato ng ahensiya kay Secretary Cruz

Pormal na isinalin ni dating agrarian reform chief John Castriciones ang liderato ng Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) kay Acting Secretary Bernie F. Cruz, noong Lunes, Nobyembre 8, 2021, sa DAR Central Office  gym sa Quezon City.

Hiningi ni Castriciones na ibigay ang buong suporta at kooperasyon ng mga opisyal at kawani ng ahensiya sa bagong secretary.

“Ang DAR ay maraming proyekto at programa na layuning mapaunalad ang pamumuhay ng mga agrarian reform beneficiaries. Hindi kakayanin ng Secretary na pamahalaan ito ng mag-isa at kakailanganin niya kayo upang maipagpatuloy ang ating naumpisahan na,” ani Castriciones. 

Pinayuhan rin ni Castriciones si Cruz na mahalaga ang pagiging maingat pagdating sa liderato. 

Sinabi naman ni Cruz na ang salitang “continuity”  ang susi upang maipagpatuloy ang kaunlaran sa kanayunan. 

“Ipagpapatuloy natin ang proyekto at programa ng DAR sa ilalim ng administrasyong ito. Hinihingi ko ang tulong ng mga opisyales at ang mga kawani ng ahensiya sa aking pamumuno sa departamento,” ani Cruz.    

Binigyang diin ng DAR Secretary na mahirap mabigo sa kayang posisyon sapagkat ang mga magsasaka ang unang maapektuhan dito. 

“Sama-sama tayong magtrabaho at magbigay kontribusyon sa pagpapaunlad ng sector ng agrikultura,” dagdag niya. 

Nagpasalamat din si Cruz sa administrasyon ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte sa tiwala at oprtunidad na ibingay sa kanya upang makapaglingkod sa sambayanang Pilipino.