Wednesday, 08 February 2012 11:52
IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay - With the theme “PADAYON…GOMA PALAMBU-ON”, Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio R. de los Reyes recently led the ceremonial cutting of ribbon and tapping of rubber trees in celebration of Rubber Harvest Festival at Goodyear Agrarian Reform Multi-PurposeCooperative (GARBEMCO), Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay.
The idea of urging the top ranking official of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to visit Zamboanga Sibugay was initiated by the Regional and Provincial Offices of DAR spearheaded by Regional Director Julita Ragandang and OIC-PARO II Rizzel Villanueva, CESE which was finally carried out by joining forces with Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) .The joint endeavor of the LBP and DAR was primarily aimed to spur rural development among rubber-based cooperatives of the agrarian reform beneficiaries of the province.
The highlight of the secretary’s visit was the granting of financial assistance to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-purpose Cooperative (ARBEMCO) in the amount of Php22, 900, 000.00, thru Credit Assistance Program-Program Beneficiaries Development (CAP-PBD) Window II.
During the event, chairmen from different rubber-based cooperatives, which included Isabela City as part of DAR Sibugay, gave their testimonials of their experiences during the rough time when they went through the ordeal and sacrifices as newly-organized cooperatives. The said chairmen also paid tribute to the Department of Agrarian Reform for their help in regaining back their economic stability thru the assistance extended by the DAR adjunct by its financial arm, the LBP and the inseparable support of other line agencies.
De los Reyes emphasized that CARP is distinctively different under the present administration as it mainly considers the importance of strengthening the organizations of the agrarian reform beneficiaries. He said that, “Ang isang malaking bagay na panibago sa pamumuno ni President Noynoy ay yung pagkapatatag ng mga organisasyon ng ating agrarian reform beneficiary.”
He reiterated that strengthening ARB organization enhances its bargaining power to access inputs and financial assistance not only in CAP-PBD. The secretary also stressed the importance of Agrarian Reform Community and Economic Support Services (ARCESS) being an innovative program of the government to strengthen ARB organizations/cooperatives by providing professional services in terms of management and farm equipments.
De los Reyes also said, “The second important mandate is to strengthen collaboration among the three government agencies of the DAR, DA and DENR with the LGUs in the delivery of basic services to our ARBs and the ARCESS program.”
“Collaboration among concerned government entities is essential to implement the program as its primordial mandate,” he added.
The agrarian reform secretary likewise foresaw the necessity to discuss with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) regarding the treatment of collective CLOA of the coops as he recognized that most ARBs of the coops are already in their advanced age.
“Kailangan po nating sagutin at harapin ang mga isyu tungkol sa paglilipat ng coop shares o yung lupa o yung mga karapatan n’yo sa kooperatiba,’’ the secretary said in his conversation with DAR officials and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries.
Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Governor Hon. Rommel Apolinario Jalosjos also graced the occasion and expressed his commitment to support development in the province especially in rubber industry in its ultimate aim of alleviating economic standard of its constituents.
Local government officials in the province were also present in the occasion to show their support to the program of the government in strengthening rubber-based cooperatives.
DAR-Sibugay also thanked Congressman Romeo “Janjan” Jalosjos for his valuable support in all the activities and projects involving rubber-based cooperatives in the 2nd district of Zamboanga Sibugay province.
Also in attendance during the event were dignitaries from the Land Bank of the Philippines, Dir. Crispin T. Aguelo and Dir. Tomas T. De Leon, Jr. and directors from other line agencies.
After a festive lunch, Secretary de los Reyes made an effort to visit the Land Bank ACCESS Project supporting the ARB rubber plantation cooperatives at Philippine Pioneer Rubber Product Corporation (PPRPC), a rubber processing plant located in Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Accompanied by OIC-PARO Villanueva and officials from the DAR Regional and Provincial Offices, Secretary de los Reyes personally witnessed the processing of raw rubber to his delight and satisfaction.
Before going to Zamboanga City to catch his flight for Manila, Secretary de los Reyes expressed his gratitude for the warm accommodation he received during his visit and parted ways with the local officials with great hope and expectations for future projects and developments involving the rubber industry in the province.
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