Thursday, April 25, 2024

PBBM Vows ‘Permanent’ Solution To Farmers’ Plight

PBBM Vows ‘Permanent’ Solution To Farmers’ Plight

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President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday assured Filipino farmers of his commitment to providing “permanent” solutions to ease their plight, saying he is determined to finish the distribution of agricultural land before his term ends in 2028.

During the distribution of land titles in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, Marcos said there will be no progress in the country, so long as the local farmers are in debt.

“Ayoko ng band aid na solusyon. Ang hanap ko ay permanenteng lunas (I don’t want a band aid solution. I want a permanent cure),” Marcos said.

“Agrarian reform remains an unrealized dream because the emancipation of farmers does not end with the receipt of titles, declaring ownership of the land they are already tilling. They must be unshackled from debt, freed from high cost of inputs, relieved of constraints that impoverish them,” he added.

Marcos said the signing of Republic Act 11953 or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act on July 7, 2023 is instrumental in freeing over 600,000 farmers who have been “held captive by land debt.”

He said the issuance of Executive Order 4 on Sept. 13, 2022, which imposed a one-year moratorium on the payment of amortizations and interest on agrarian debt, “provides farmers that are choked with debt with some financial breathing space at a time when agriculture was battling a fuel and fertilizer crisis.”

“And so, we are always looking to make sure that our farmers will have and will make a good living,” Marcos said.

“Ilan lang iyan sa mga maraming programang para sa ating mga magsasaka dito sa inyong probinsya upang mapataas ang kanilang ani at mapalaki ang kanilang kita. Tama lang na suklian ang kanilang pagod at sabayan ang kanilang pagsisikap ng tulong ng pamahalaan (Those are just some of the many programs for our farmers here in your province to increase their yield and increase their income. It is only right to repay them and support their efforts with government assistance).”

During the event, Marcos led the distribution of a total of 3,184 land titles, covering 4,659.28 hectares of land to some 2,769 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur under the Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) Project.

He also distributed a total of 70 farm machinery and equipment worth PHP8.91 million to around 1,681 ARBs.

Eight farm-to-market roads, with a total project cost of PHP194.41 million, spanning 10.367 kilometers in the towns of Cagwait, Madrid, Carmen, Tago, San Miguel, and Barobo in Surigao del Sur, were also turned over.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has awarded land titles covering 109,199 hectares of land nationwide, benefitting 98,203 ARBs from July 2022 to Dec 2023.

The DAR Caraga is targeting the distribution of around 10,659 hectares of land in the region to 5,743 ARBs.

Marcos also promised to pursue development programs for the betterment of Caraga, as he recognized the region as one of the areas in the country with rich resources.

“I make that vow because as a region rich in resources, you do not only deserve it. Above all, it is a shared responsibility we owe to our children, a deliverable to the next generation that we cannot fail. For me, it is a burden that I carry as the son of a leader who never wavered in the belief in the potentials of this region, and who worked hard to unlock that potential,” he said.

 

Soil testing facility

Before the distribution of land titles, Marcos also led the site inspection of the PHP550-million Soil Laboratory Building currently under construction in Agusan del Sur.

Marcos said the “first and modern” facility in Mindanao would help boost agricultural productivity in the country.

Agusan del Sur Gov. Santiago Cane Jr. and Executive Adviser and scientist Dr. Johnvie Goloran briefed Marcos on the soil laboratory building project in Prosperidad town.

The facility, which will be managed by the provincial government, is capable of physical, chemical, and biological characterization of soils using a range of advanced analytical capabilities and can analyze 50 to 100 soil samples a day, with test results released in less than two to three days.

The soil testing facility can also analyze soils, plants, water, fertilizer, and gas samples.

Providing sufficient and accurate soil information to farmers, the soils laboratory will enable them to choose the crops suitable for their farmlands and the type and rate of fertilizer that should be used for their crops for optimum plant growth and development, resulting in better productivity and income.

The Provincial Soils Laboratory is expected to be completed next year with soil chemists, soil microbiologists, and agronomists working as the facility’s lead personnel.

The project is being led through Australia-Philippines collaboration that focuses on a national soil health strategy that seeks to enhance agricultural production in the country.

Following the site inspection, Marcos handed over to five farmer-representatives about 1,200 bags of certified palay seeds for the areas affected by the recent floods in the province. (PNA)

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