President Rodrigo Duterte has tapped Undersecretary Bernie Cruz to be the acting chief of the Department of Agrarian Reform, Malacañang has announced.
Duterte signed Cruz’s appointment paper on Oct. 28, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed last October 28, 2021 the appointment of Mr. Bernie Ferrer Cruz as Acting Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR),” Roque said.
Cruz replaced DAR Secretary John Castriciones who stepped down from the post to join the 2022 senatorial race.
Roque said the Palace wished Cruz “all the best in his new assignment.”
“We are confident that Acting Secretary Cruz will continue to oversee the completion of DAR’s programs and projects in the remaining months of the current government,” he said.
Prior to his new stint, Cruz served as DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted Projects.
In a statement, Cruz vowed to hasten the distribution of the remaining undistributed lands to landless farmers, as the government still has a balance of over 700,000 hectares of agricultural lands.
Cruz also promised to provide support services to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and bring social justice to agrarian communities.
“If these lands were awarded to qualified and deserving ARBs, the country would have a sustainable agricultural sector that would contribute to ensuring food security,” he said.
Cruz also said his resolve is to provide support services to the agricultural sector to attain a stable rural economy in the country.
“I am committed to bring industrialization to the agricultural sector and through provisions of support services such as various livelihood opportunities, infrastructure projects, farm machinery and equipment, capability-building training, loan facilities, among other support, we can achieve a stable rural economy,” he said.