Government prioritizes farmers’ welfare under ‘Bagong Pilipinas’

2024 May 24

FARMERS’ WELFARE. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. leads the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award and electronic titles to agrarian reform beneficiaries in the Soccsksargen Region in Koronadal City, South Cotabato on Friday (May 24, 2024). During his speech, Marcos said the government will prioritize the welfare of Filipino farmers and improve their economic standings under a Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines). (RTVM screengrab)

MANILA – The government will prioritize the welfare of Filipino farmers under the Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines) policy, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Friday.

In his speech during the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) and electronic titles (e-titles) to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) in Koronadal City, South Cotabato, Marcos said the New Agrarian Emancipation Act unburdens farmers from decades-old debts that prevented them from fully owning the land given to them by the government.

“Sa Bagong Pilipinas, uunahin po natin ang kapakanan ng mga magsasaka at papalayain natin sila sa sistemang nagpapahirap [ng] kanilang kalagayan (Under a New Philippines, we will prioritize the welfare of the farmers and free them from a system that exacerbates their situation),” Marcos said.

Farmers, according to the President, no longer need to pay for annual fees or amortization for the lands.

“Wala na po, wala na po kayong kailangan alalahanin tungkol diyan dahil sinabi na namin ay burado na ‘yan. Burado na ‘yung utang ninyo (You don’t have to worry about it because we’re saying it’s already been erased. Your debts are wiped out),” he added.

Marcos said the distribution of land ownership titles to ARBs serves as key to escape from poverty.

“IIsa ito sa aming mga programa upang mapabilis ang pagbabago at paglago ng ating mga magsasaka. Magiging susi ito sa pagbangon ng ating kababayan mula sa kahirapan (This is one of our programs to hasten progress and growth of our farmers. This will be the key for our fellow Filipinos to rise out of poverty),” he said.

A total of 3,167 e-titles and 1,184 CLOA were distributed to 4,271 ARBs in South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat.

The President said almost 10,700 titles covering more than 18,000 hectares of land have already been distributed in Soccsksargen.

Of the figure, a total of 1,619 ARBs are from South Cotabato; 1,645 from Cotabato; 707 from Sarangani; and 300 from Sultan Kudarat.

For this year, President Marcos said his administration hopes to distribute an additional 2,000 titles to more than 2,600 farmers in the region.

He expressed hope that the program will open different opportunities for the beneficiaries.

“Sa ating mga benepisyaryo, nawa’y magbukas ito ng iba’t ibang pagkakataon upang mapabuti ninyo ang inyong mga sarili at matupad ang inyong mga hangarin para sa inyong pamilya at para sa ating bansa (To our beneficiaries, I hope this will open up new opportunities for you to improve and fulfill your dreams for your family and our country),” President Marcos said.

“Nawa’y magbigay ito ng kapanatagan sa inyong kabuhayan habang itinataguyod ninyo ang seguridad sa pagkain ng buong bansa. Higit sa lahat, nawa’y maging inspirasyon ito para sa inyong mga anak at ang kanilang mga anak na ipagpatuloy at pagyabungin pa ang propesyon ng pagsasaka. Sa kanila nakasalalay ang kinabukasan ng atin bayan (I hope this will bring livelihood security, while you work on improving food security in the country. Most importantly, I hope this will be an inspiration for your children and their children to continue and promote the profession of agriculture. The future of our country is in their hands),” he added.

Fast-track land distribution

Marcos also directed the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to expedite the distribution of lands and work together with other state agencies to provide services to farmers.

“Tinatawagan ko rin ang DAR na pabilisin ang pamamahagi ng lupa at makipag-ugnayan sa iba’t-ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan upang makapagbigay ng malawakang serbisyo sa ating mga magsasaka (I am calling on DAR to speed up the distribution of lands and coordinate with government agencies to extend more services to our farmers),” he said.

President Marcos also assured farmers that the government will continue to find solutions for all the challenges in the agricultural sector, particularly the effects of the El Niño phenomenon, the looming La Niña, and other effects of climate change.

“Hindi po namin bibiguin ang tiwalang ipinagkaloob niyo sa akin at sa pamahalaan. Hindi po namin iindahin ang pagod sa paglilibot sa lahat ng sulok ng bansa maihatid lamang ang serbisyo para sa inyo (We will not let you down and ruin your trust in the government. We will not be affected by the exhaustion of going around every corner of the country just to bring our services to you),” the President said.

“Magtulungan po tayo. Sama-sama nating isulong ang masaganang buhay sa ilalim ng isang Bagong Pilipinas (Let’s help each other. Together, we will pursue a prosperous life under a New Philippines),” he added.

Filane Mikee Cervantes (PNA)