DAR exec says support services not ‘dole-outs’

BACOLOD CITY, June 20 (PNA) — Undersecretary Jerry Pacturan of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) stressed that support services they are providing to agrarian reform beneficiaries are not “dole-outs” per se.

Pacturan made the clarification in an interview during the awarding of a P72.9-million loan to 22 agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) here on Wednesday.

Pacturan said the money provided under the Agrarian Reform Production Credit Program is not a mere grant or subsidy wherein ARBOs have no obligation after getting it.

“This is a loan that must be paid,” Pacturan stressed in response to the claims of some militant groups in the province that the program is somehow “spoon feeding”.

Pacturan said the new program of DAR is designed to give ARBOs the access to credit programs of the government so they can have the start-up capital to cultivate their lands.

APCP, which started last year, is a joint undertaking of DAR, Department of Agriculture and Land Bank of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Pacturan said they are determined to finish the land acquisition and distribution of CARPable lands until the term of President Benigno Aquino III ends in 2016.

Pacturan said they are now preparing to amend Republic Act 9700 (CARPer) and extend the funding for the implementation of land acquisition and distribution.

RA 9700 extended the implementation of CARP (Republic Act 6657) from August 2009 until June 30, 2014 with a P150-billion budget.

“We will pass an amendment to the law stating that the government will continue to provide funds until agrarian reform is fully achieved,” he said.

In Negros Occidental alone, DAR has yet to distribute more or less 125,000 hectares of CARPable land before CARPer expires on June 30, 2014. (PNA)


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