GENERAL SANTOS CITY - Faced with limited farming and livelihood activities due to community quarantine measures, more than 2,000 farmers and IPs who are Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in Sarangani and General Santos City received relief goods from the Department of Agrarian Reform.
Arlene Narvaz, an ARB resident of Brgy San Jose, Geneneral Santos City regarded the relief goods containing food and non-food items as a big help.
She said, "Salamat gyud sa ayuda sa DAR kay lisod kaayo ang among panginabuhi karong tig-covid kay hina ang among pag-uma ug dili ka kalakaw para mangita panginabuhian nga tarong. Dako kayo ang matabang ning ayuda kay daghan ko gisuportahan sa balay"
(I am grateful to DAR for the relief goods because we barely have income during this pandemic. We are heavily affected with limited farming activities. We cannot also work or look for other means of livelihood because of the restrictions being set. These goods can aid us considering the needs of my big family)
This initiative under the PaSSOver: ARBold Move for Deliverance of ARBs from the COVID-19 Pandemic, is DAR's response to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte's call to realign government programs in order to address the impact of this public health crisis.
This project will provide essential support services to the ARBs, whom we regard as the country's front liners in food security.
Earlier, DAR Secretary John H. Castrisciones said, "the provision of packages, which is just a preliminary assistance for the ARBs, contain rice, noodles, canned goods, mask, vitamins, and bath soap to help sustain their everyday lives and in the long run provide the ARBs and agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) the needed assistance and support in this time of crisis.
In Barangay San Jose, General Santos City, DAR 12 Regional Director, Engr. Marion Y. Abella led the distribution of the relief goods to more than 200 ARBs where he was joined in by OIC PARPO II Cenon S. Original, PARPO I Maristela O. Olegario, CARPO Ramonito C. Marciano and PCAO Philin T. Ravanera.
Moved by the present plight of ARBs in terms of their agricultural production, Abella exhorted the ARBs to follow faithfully the basic health protocols in order to protect themselves and their own families from COVID-19.
"Your health is important to us, so DAR's project The PaSSOver: ARBold Move for Deliverance of ARBs from COVID-19 Pandemic is our way of helping you tide over this difficult times," Abella said.
Meanwhile, Original emphasized that the project is DAR's way of looking after the welfare of the ARBs and to somehow lessen the impact of this pandemic - especially those ARBs who have not received social amelioration assistance from other government agencies during these times.
In the Municipality of Maitum, Sarangani, Gloria Telol an ARB said that the relief goods will surely help them survive during this pandemic.
"Since my husband has a disability and could no longer work, we have really scanty resources. That is why I'm so grateful to Pres. Duterte and to DAR for the assistance they gave especially to the needy ARBs," Telol added.
For the BLGU part, Barangay Chairman Yunie Labi of Upo, in the same municipality, expressed his gratitude to the department as he saw how the food packs alleviated his fellow T'boli ARBs from the burden of providing for the basic needs of their families in the midst of the crisis.
He was hopeful that the other components of the project will enable the qualified ARBs to continue their agricultural production and livelihood even with community quarantine measures and in the course of the "new normal." (Agnes Torino, DAR Sarangani)