The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Bangsamoro government have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to boost the implementation of agrarian reform in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The MOA was signed by Secretary Conrado M. Estrella III for DAR, and Ahod B. Ebrahim for BARMM last November 28, putting in place the policy framework. This, they said, is an important milestone as BARMM established a partnership with the DAR for the first time since the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in 1988.
DAR said there are 103,344.58 hectares of land available for distribution in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and in Special Geographic Areas, 65,379 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), 280 ARB organizations, and 110 agrarian reform communities in BARMM.
Under the DAR’s partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (Mafar), Estrella will work in close coordination with the Bangsamoro government to implement the agency’s main programs including land distribution, agrarian justice delivery, and provision of support services.
Anticipating the Presidential Agrarian Reform Committee convention this 2024, the DAR chief plans to secure additional funding for support services in the Bangsamoro region, promising more infrastructure projects, farm machinery and equipment, and agricultural inputs for the people.
“We will also provide new agricultural technologies and introduce more modern and scientific ways of farming to BARMM’s farmer-beneficiaries,” Estrella said in a statement.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim envisions the MOU as the “cornerstone” of the Bangsamoro region’s agrarian reform program.
OMA Undersecretary Amihilda J. Sangcopan said the MOU is “a testament to Estrella’s commitment to bring DAR closer to the people of Mindanao and to BARMM.”