ASINGAN, Pangasinan: In these times of the Covid-19 pandemic, continuous efforts to improve the economic condition of farming communities in Pangasinan received a big boost after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) turned over various productivity assistance worth P1.3 million.
DAR Secretary John R. Castriciones said the month of June is usually set aside by the department to commemorate the June 10, 1988 signing of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), which is the basis for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
“Instead of celebrating its 32nd year, we chose to help farmers survive the ill effects of the pandemic in their economic lives by providing them with the much needed assistance in crop production,” Castriciones said.
Castriciones led the distribution of productivity assistance in Pangasinan with Support Services Office Undersecretary Emily O. Padilla, distributing among others: seeds and fertilizers; water pumps for irrigation and livelihood packages.
He said the activity is being implemented under the project called “The PaSSOver: ARBOld Move to Heal as One Deliverance of our ARBs from the Covid-19 Pandemic” or ARBOld Move project for short.
“These provisions are highly significant in achieving food security in the country. These [productivity assistance] would greatly help the farmers in fulfilling their role as frontliners by continually producing and delivering food crops in critical areas affected by the pandemic,” Castriciones said.
The productivity assistance were coursed through agrarian cooperatives and farmers’ associations. Padilla said more than 3,000 farmers and residents in Pangasinan will benefit from these assistance, of which 976 are agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
According to Padilla, sixty (60) ARBs from Umingan and sixteen (16) ARBs from Asingan received fertilizers and vegetable seedlings which will be planted to a 500 sq. m. lot per ARB. Irrigation issues will not be a problem anymore as two irrigators association in San Quentin and Umingan also received two water pumps each.
Livelihood packages were also turned over to four (4) agrarian cooperatives and three (3) farmers’ associations which include bakery and egg machine starter kits.
“These livelihood packages are easy to manage and will enable farmers to sustain their livelihood with a quick return on investment. Thus, would greatly help augment their family income in these difficult times caused by the pandemic,” Padilla said.
During the event, Castriciones also distributed certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to ninety-four (94) ARBs covering sixty-three (63) hectares of agricultural lands in Asingan and San Quentin.
In his message to the farmers, Castriciones emphasized that their CLOAs signify their “freedom from the bondage of tenancy.”
Fifty (50) year-old Zenaida Somera, one of the ARB –recipient immediately posed with her CLOA after the awarding ceremony as a gesture of gratitude.
“I am very happy to receive this long-awaited land title. Now I can plant the seedlings and fertilizers I received from DAR. The timing is perfect!” she said in Filipino.
(dargovph/ SRNY/ RSP)