DAR eyes mobilization of about 150k farmers to ensure food security amid ECQ
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is mobilizing around 150,000 farmers to help sustain the government’s food sufficiency program amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) placed over Luzon and other parts of the country.
These farmers, members of around 3,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organizations (ARBOs), along with individual farmers, are being eyed to be given quarantine accreditation passes so they can deliver food and other supplies to areas critically affected by the pandemic, the DAR said in a release Friday.
To allow this, the DAR via Memorandum Circular No. 5 on Tuesday released the guidelines by which farmers and ARBOs should comply with to get passes. The authority to issue quarantine accreditation passes to is vested upon the DAR by virtue of Resolution No. 19, series of 2020, issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on April 3.
The IATF has also considered agriculture and fisheries stakeholders as frontliners “whose movements shall remain unhampered” through Resolution No. 21, series of 2020, on April 6.
“ARBOs are going to play a key role in winning this war. The food they produce from their farms is vital not only for our sustenance but also for revitalizing our immune systems and helping us withstand the ill-effects of the dreaded COVID (Coronavirus Disease) 19,” DAR Secretary John Castriciones said.
Castriciones also noted that individual farmers and ARBOs will be accompanied by DAR personnel, who would also be holding quarantine accreditation passes, and are all required to wear personal protective equipment and comply with health protocols.
“The quarantine accreditation passes are non-transferable and is free of charge. It will bear the DAR official dry seal for authentication purposes. Regional directors are required to distribute them to qualified individual farmers and representatives of the ARBOs in their respective areas,” Castriciones noted.
He added that the master distribution plan should indicate the manner of harvesting, packaging, transportation, promotion and distribution; the kind of crops that are critically needed in lockdown areas; the critical areas in need of farm goods and the manpower needed to implement the said plan.
Regional directors have been directed to monitor the implementation of the distribution plan and must submit a daily report to the Office of the Undersecretary for Support Services until the ECQ period is over.
The DAR in late March also ordered its regional directors to coordinate with the Department of Agriculture in issuing checkpoint passes for farmers to ensure the smooth movement of goods amid the ECQ.
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