THE Senate has approved the P10.27 billion proposed budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for 2018.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, head of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, pushed DAR to allot more funds for the development and sustainability programs of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs).
Villar also urged DAR to increase the budget for the acquisition of farm machines and equipment.
“The barriers of farmers toward stability and competitiveness is mechanization so we have to mechanize both in the aspect of producing the product and in processing,” she said.
DAR Secretary Rosalina Bistoyong said her agency will work to provide sufficient support to farmers and further develop the agriculture sector.
The P10.27-billion proposed budget includes, among others, a P1.59-billion allocation for general administration and support as well as P693.4 million for operations, which include funding for policy formulation, planning, monitoring and agrarian reform information and education.
The DAR’s Land Tenure Security Program was allotted a budget of P2.86 billion budget, the Agrarian Justice Delivery Program, P935.7 million and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development and Sustainability Program, P1.87 billion.
From 1972 to 2017, DAR distributed 4.74 million hectares to 2.8 million agrarian reform beneficiaries.
“This year, DAR targets to distribute a total of 48,588 hectares to 46,253 agrarian reform beneficiaries. From January to June 2017, DAR has already covered a total of 11,356 hectares,” Bistoyong said.