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Duterte administration pours P500-M agri assistance to ARMM, three other regions 

COTABATO CITY – Farmers in conflict stricken regions in Mindanao are projected to yield more agricultural produce, and incidence of poverty expected to ease after an agricultural assistance amounting to P500 million was granted by the Duterte Administration on Saturday, October 29.

The distribution of assistance was held during the launching of the Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda (CRDA) in Cotabato City on October 29, 2016, to farmers and fisherfolks-beneficiaries from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and other Conflict-Affected Areas in Regions 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), 10 (Northern Mindanao) and 12 (Central Mindanao)’.

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to end the hunger in Mindanao and develop the island. “I want the incidence of hunger stopped,” Duterte said.

Having started his ‘more responsive anti-poverty programs’ for Mindanao, Duterte promised to pour more development programs in the poverty stricken regions. “Bigyan niyo ako ng panahon, I will improve the Moro land.” Duterte said.

Atty. Bai Ranibai Dilangalen, Department of Agriculture (DA) undersecretary for special concerns, said the assistance would be a big step forward in contributing to the improvement of agricultural production, and ease poverty incidence within residents in the target regions.

“Admittedly, many of our poor countrymen are from the agriculture sector – the farmers and fisherfolks,” Dilangalen said.

Dilangalen said the DA and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) assistance was pegged at approximately P306 million, adding to the funds of regular programs of the two agencies.

“We hope our programs would help address poverty problem in these areas,” Dilangalen added.

Sec. Alexander Alonto, ARMM’s Department Agriculture and Fisheries secretary, said the assistance would augment the gaps of the regular programs being implemented in the region.

“These will uplift the volume of agricultural production we have in the ARMM, and would alleviate poverty of farmers and fisherfolks at the same time,” Alonto said.

The assistance from the DA and BFAR include farm equipment, post-harvest facilities, machineries, farm and agri-aquatic inputs such as rice certified seeds, corn seeds, banca, fishing paraphernalia, among others.

A new project of the DA, Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD), will allow the DA to look at the weak points of each identified poor province as priority areas, and determine its key potentials in food production and agricultural livelihood programs.

In the ARMM, Maguindanao was chosen and received P50 million assistance received by Governor Toto Mangudadatu. The provinces of Sarangani and North Cotabato also received P50 million each for the same project.

USec. Dilangalen noted that additional P100 million for the three provinces will be allocated for the same project in 2017, and more provinces will be included in the project.

Another P192 million worth of agri-assistance was also launched under the socio-economic development component of the Normalization Fund. For the ARMM alone, approximately P144 million was allotted for this year, and the remaining P48 million was allocated for the other three regions.

For his part, Sec. Alonto said the continuing efforts of the ARMM government and the anti-poverty programs of Duterte administration will uplift the lives of poor families who are mostly living in impoverished communities. (Bureau of Public Information)

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