Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Atty. John Castriciones headed the turn-over of the new set of sub-projects and machinery under Project ConVERGE on December 16 in Zamboanga del Sur.

A multi-purpose warehouse and a delivery truck amounting to 1.2 million pesos each were turned over to the Campo IV Agrarian Beneficiaries Multi-purpose Cooperative (CIVCABEFAMCO) in Ramon Magsaysay town, one of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) of the project for Region 9.

Top officials from the regional and provincial offices of the agency and the project, as well as local government unit leaders also graced the event, where a signing of the memorandum of agreement, ribbon-cutting, and ceremonial handing over of the key of responsibility to the ARBO, represented by Chairman Francisco Maribong and Manager Rosevilla Salceda were conducted.

Hope in farming: aiming to make the agricultural sector great

As it is one of DAR’s objective to further improve and promote agriculture to the citizens, that is what Secretary Castriciones emphasized during his message. “One of the weakest sectors in the country is the agricultural sector. DAR’s objective is to make our country an industrialized one. That is why we roam to send a message to our farmers: that there is really hope in farming.”

He also expressed his gratitude towards the farmers who continued to work in the field tirelessly amid pandemic. “That is why our farmers are the real heroes: you never stopped working to put food on the table for everyone else in the country amid the pandemic.”

With that, Secretary Castriciones conveyed DAR’s plans to further uplift the lives of the farmers by introducing new agricultural programs and entice the young generation to take up agriculture. “Paunlarin natin ang pamumuhay ng ating mga magsasaka”, (let us improve the lives of our farmers [through these upcoming programs]) he said.

Support to farmers; challenges to be faced

Meanwhile, ConVERGE National Project Director Faisar Mambuay underscored the unforeseen challenges of the farmers and how it could be overcome by treasuring the technical assistance received. “Challenges in our livelihood is always a given for us,” NPD Mambuay emphasized.

“That is why various agricultural trainings have been given to our beneficiaries for all of you to be ready for the challenges to come. These will, in turn, strengthen the ARBO itself. The trainings should be taken to heart as it will help us in the long run”, he added.

DAR IX – Assistant Regional Director Agnes Maata also rendered a message, highlighting the responsibilities of the ARBOs to utilize the equipment received. “ConVERGE and DAR will be more than happy to see these support services that were provided be put to good use by our beneficiaries since that is the reason we provided it in the first place. Now, our ARBOs have the responsibility to ensure the maintenance of the delivery truck and the warehouse,” ARD Maata added.

Regional Director Atty. Ramon Madroñal Jr. expressed his gratitude for the support of Secretary Castriciones and his undersecretaries, and for the cooperation of the local government units in providing high quality equipment for its beneficiaries. “The hard work of our dear Secretary Castriciones and his team is apparent in their service. Thank you for reaching these areas of Region 9 with us,” RD Matronal said.

Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Governor Victor Yu thanked DAR and ConVERGE for aiding the beneficiaries. “There are many challenges ahead of us, but the government aims to fully support our farmers. Together, we can work and solve said challenges to improve our city and country,” he said. He also asserted to provide further assistance to the agricultural sector.

Representing the recipient Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organization, CIVCABEFAMCO Manager Rosevilla Salceda also expressed her appreciation for choosing their ARBO as the recipient of the turned-over rural infrastructure subprojects. “We are very thankful for DAR, Project ConVERGE, and our Secretary John Castriciones for the passion to reach out to our farmers,” Salceda said during her message. “Your department has showered us with the aid and compassion that could be felt by everyone.”