AGRARIAN REFORM. Agrarian Secretary Conrado Estrella III discusses the importance of the aggressive implementation of the agrarian reform program during the 150th meeting of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council Executive Committee on Oct. 28, 2022. Estrella said the remaining PHP10 billion Agrarian Reform Fund will be used to realize President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s dignified goals for farmers. (Photo from DAR)

MANILA – In line with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to distribute the lands for free and intensify the provision of support services to farmers, Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III has convened the 150th meeting of Presidential Agrarian Reform Council Executive Committee (PARC ExCom) on Oct. 28.

“I was tasked by the President, being the Vice-Chairman of the PARC, to convene this very important meeting, to use the remaining PHP10 billion of the Agrarian Reform Fund (ARF) to realize his dignified goals for our farmers,” Estrella said in a news release Sunday.

The meeting expressed its determination to adopt the President’s recommendation for the release and utilization of PHP10 billion from the ARF balance, which will be used for:

• Landowners compensation, with an amount of PHP1.4-billion for documented landholdings with pending claims which are due for payment;
• Support services budget, with PHP7.85-billion for the implementation of projects including agri-extension services, distribution of farm input support and farm machineries to agrarian reform beneficiaries, infrastructure development and public works projects, among others;
• Additional PHP500 million for administrative and operating expenses needed for the implementation of the above components of the agrarian reform program; and
• Institutional human resources for capacity development programs, PHP250 million to empower and enhance the competencies of the Department for its effective implementation.

During the meeting, Estrella said members of the Senate and House of Representatives have committed to the President that they would pass the “New Emancipation Act” for the landless farmers this December.

“This bill would enable the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to distribute free lands to the farmers,” he said.

Estrella added that this would create a great impact to the farmers along with the intensified provision of necessary support services to make their lands become more productive to generate more income.

“I believe that this is a historic executive meeting because this gathering will not just improve the lives of the farmers, but it will also have a beneficial effect in our agricultural sector,” he said. (PNA)