Senator Chiz Escudero on Friday said the government should not forget farmers’ cooperatives in the distribution of some 52,000 hectares of unused public agricultural lands.
Escudero said he is pushing for inclusion in the list of beneficiaries cooperatives with excellent track records.
Escudero said this is inaccordance with the Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 as amended.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. intends to distribute public land. In his state of the nation address (SONA), Marcos said he plans to assign these vast tracks of untilled farmlands to “veterans, their surviving relatives, retirees of the AFP – and PNP, and agricultural degree holders who are all landless.”
Escudero said there is still room to expand the list of beneficiaries.
“I believe there is room for people who have made a living in tilling the land,” Escudero said. “If we are going to mobilize farmers to ramp up food production, then let us begin with those who have the expertise. In our war against hunger and poverty, let us tap those with experience and proven track records.”
He also said the government can even turn the untilled lands to be developed by these outstanding farmer cooperatives as “demonstration farms that will showcase best practices in growing food.”
The set up, he said, can be viewed as intra-communal transfer of know-how, of farmers mentoring their own kind.
Escudero stressed that land grants should go beyond being a “social justice program” to a food security initiative and suggested that the beneficiaries will use the soon-to-be-distributed agricultural lands for farming.