THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have signed a memorandum of agreement for the implementation of Convergence on Livelihood Assistance for ARBs Project (Claap) in Negros Occidental.
The agreement signing was conducted during the project launching held at the Negros Occidental Multipurpose Activity Center in Bacolod City on Friday, April 26.
It was participated by DAR-Negros Occidental officials and 27 agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (Arbos) consist of 924 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from the cities of Bacolod, Cadiz, Himamaylan, Kabankalan and Bago, and towns of E.B. Magalona, Manapla, Toboso, Calatrava, Pontevedra, Hinigaran, and Cauayan.
The Claap is a joint collaboration of the DAR and DSWD, which aims to expand and increase the access to economic opportunities of ARBs through technical assistance in the form of trainings, coaching and mentoring on enterprise operation and management.
Capital assistance will be provided as well for the livelihood and microenterprise projects of ARBs.
Under the agreement, DSWD will fund the project, while DAR will provide social preparation, technical capacity building, and seed capital assistance of P25,000 per eligible Claap beneficiary.
The former will allocate and transfer P1 billion to the DAR from its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) fund.
Restituto Macuto, national coordinator of DSWD-SLP, said the DAR, DSWD and other national agencies are ready to assist ARBs especially in the implementation of the project.
Macuto stressed the stakeholders' valuable contribution in order to attain the whole province's food and agricultural requirement.
"The success of the implementation of the program lies on the hands of the farmers," he added.
Pontevedra Municipal Mayor Jose Benito Alonso, who was also present at the activity, expressed his gratitude to the agency for choosing the town's Arbos as beneficiaries.
Of the 27 organization-recipients, five came from Pontevedra.
Alonso said that government agencies work together in extending assistance to the farmer-organizations. In return, Arbos must work hard to achieve the goal of the program.
DAR-Western Visayas Director Stephen Leonidas, for his part, said ARBs should do their part toward their betterment, because if not, nothing will happen despite all the assistance from the government.
Leonidas pointed out that the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) is not a failure because lives of many Arbos have improved.
"As long as the DAR exists, the implementation of its program will continue with the support of its beneficiaries," he said, adding that "Claap will succeed through the help and support of each and every ARB."
Joel Villaruel of Barangay San Pablo Farmers Association in Manapla, meanwhile, thanked the agencies for the project seen to help their families.
Also present at the launching were Provincial Agriculturist Japheth Masculino, representatives of different local government units, and other DAR officials in Western Visayas and Negros Occidental, among others.