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DAR nominee Estrella to focus on increasing farmer incomes

CONRADO M. ESTRELLA III, President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s nominee for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), said on Thursday that his policy will focus on boosting the purchasing power of farmers.

Ang ating hinahangad, syempre, unang una, na ang ating mga magsasaka, ang ating agrarian reform beneficiaries ay maging parte ng ating consumer group na mayroong malakas o strong purchasing power” (Our goal, first of all, is to turn our farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries into consumers with strong purchasing power), he told state-run People’s Television Network (PTV).

Sapagka’t kung lumaki ang ating consumer group with strong purchasing power, e susunod sunod na ’yan kahit na anong negosyo ang ipatayo mo dyan, kikita tayo” (If we grow the consumer base and ensure they have strong purchasing power, many businesses will benefit and we will prosper), he added. “’Pag ganun pati presyo ng pagkain either mapababa natin ng kaunti o kung hindi man, mayroon pera sa bulsa ang ating mamamayan upang ipambili ng pagkain nila” (We will either bring down food prices a bit or ensure ordinary people have money to buy food with).

Mr. Conrado’s nomination to DAR was announced late Wednesday. He will assume the same post held by his grandfather, Conrado Estrella, Sr., who served under the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr.

One avenue for increasing farmer incomes is to encourage them to “embark on livestock,” Mr. Estrella said. “That’s one of the things we are looking at.”

He said that the DAR will seek to accelerate the distribution of titles to farmers, a number of whom have only received Certificates of Land Ownership Award under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

“We will try to issue more land titles so that farmers would be able to fully utilize their land,” he said, noting that titles may be monetized by being offered as collateral for bank loans.

Mr. Estrella, an outgoing deputy Speaker, is a member of the ABONO party-list that represented agriculture sector in the 18th Congress. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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