14 ARBOs in Eastern Visayas tapped to supply food to gov't facilities

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has tapped 14 agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) in Eastern Visayas to supply agricultural products to government institutions.

The 14 ARBOs had sealed marketing contracts with 16 institutional buyers under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program.

The MAALSADA-Farmer Irrigators Service Cooperative (MAALSASA-FISCO) will supply 150 cavans of milled rice every month and 150 kilos of assorted vegetables daily to Eastern Visayas Medical Center (EVRMC) for the daily meal of its patients.

Aside from EVRMC, MAALSADA-FISCO will also supply milled rice and vegetables to Schistosomiasis Research Hospital in Palo, and Department of Health-Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Dulag, both in Leyte.

The Paglaum Farmers Association (PFA) will supply vegetables, livestock, and poultry products to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) for both the male and female dormitories at the Tacloban City Jail.

Other ARBOs in the region that were linked to institutional buyers include the Almeria Seafarers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Almeria, Biliran which will supply vegetables to the Naval District Jail.

Aside from the signing of marketing contracts, regional heads of DAR and the Departments of Agriculture, Social Welfare and Development, Health, and Interior and Local Government, as well as the BJMP, also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support and extend assistance to farmers’ groups in the marketing of their products in Eastern Visayas.

"If we are able to provide good nutrition to our people, chances are, it will boost their immunity. Strong immunity will then shield them against COVID-19, and therefore will not be an added burden to our hospitals," DAR Secretary John Castriciones said.

Under the EPAHP, instead of buying commercial food supplies, the Department of Health-retained hospitals and the city, district, and municipal jails are encouraged to buy their food requirements from the ARBOs, which is allowed by the Government Procurement Policy Board thru Resolution No. 17-2016.