Study underway for Cotabato?s poor to access idle lands for planting

“We plan to implement what would be called the Poor Man’s Emancipation Program which will give the poorest of the poor in the province, those who are landless, the opportunity to have access to lands which they can plant to rubber or oil palm,” Piñol said.

Under the program, public and idle agricultural lands will be identified and opened to poor landless families who are willing to develop these lands to rubber and oil palm.

National agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will be designated with the identification and distribution of idle lands, while the provincial government, through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, will provide planting materials and other agricultural support services. The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and local government units will be assigned to identify the beneficiaries of the program.

Based on the provincial minimum basic needs (MBN) data, about 10,000 families will initially be benefited by the program. Each family will be allocated two hectares, or a total area requirement of 20,000 hectares.

“The PMEP will provide these families with better income opportunities and at the same time increase agricultural productivity in the province,” Piñol said.

“I believe that this is our primary task in government. Provide our people, especially the poorest of the poor, the opportunity to improve their lives and ensure a better future for their children,” he said.