THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has formed a team that will survey areas settled by agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) to determine what assistance they need to improve their living conditions.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado M. Estrella III said in a statement Sunday that the project development team will determine which of the 57 settlement areas are in need of poverty-relief programs. The team’s creation was authorized by Special Order No. 643.

Mr. Estrella said DAR is planning to introduce agribusiness, job-creation, and law and order initiatives.

“The team will undertake the preparation and packaging of project proposals that can provide support services that may include training, market linkages, credit assistance, farm-to-market roads, bridges, irrigation, and potable water systems,” Mr. Estrella said.  

Being surveyed are settlement areas in Northern Mindanao, Davao region, and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City).

According to Mr. Estrella, the programs and projects will be funded with Official Development Assistance (ODA).

“The project will be implemented by the DAR, with funds to be sourced from Japan, France, Spain, and others,” the DAR said.

“In the past, the ODA has played a significant role in the rural development program by financing among other the DAR’s special projects, such as the Mindanao Sustainable Settlement Area Development, the Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development, and other settlement areas in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” the DAR said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave