Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, July 1, led the way in augmenting the capacities of the Cabungbungan Linggahub United Farmers & Farmworkers Association (CALUFFA), the majority of whom are beneficiaries of the Agrarian Reform Law.
During the virtual turnover, Robredo said the Office of the Vice President (OVP) wants to fill in the gaps of capacity-building through financial assistance.
“We know that most of you are ARBs (agrarian reform beneficiaries). We know that getting the land is a big help for you but we also know that this is not the answer to all the hardships you’ve gone through),” Robredo told the ARBs in Filipino.
The goal of the Ahon Laylayan Koalisyon is to create a venue and platform that will inform the OVP of what the farmers need.
It was launched in 2019 with an aim to improve local governance and make local government units (LGUs) accessible to their constituents.
“What we want is even if I’m not the vice president anymore, even if we’re not here, you will still feel our presence. That is what we are expecting that because of this assistance, you will be able to improve your livelihoods,” she stressed.
The vice president will step down in June next year, the end of her six-year term.
Aside from the financial assistance, the OVP is also offering sustainable training and financial management programs to strengthen the CALUFFA.
On the same day, Robredo also turned over one big motorized fishing boat with complete equipment to Panas-an Small Fisherfolks Association (PASFA).
One of the fisherfolk, identified by the vice president as Tomas Ayson, thanked her for the help.
Robredo said the fisherfolk are close to her because she worked with the sector in her home province of Bicol before she entered politics in 2013. The vice president is a lawyer who worked with the grassroots sector.
“I handled many cases like the Bantay-Dagat. Whenever they capture illegal fishers and violators, they’re the ones who had to face cases filed by rich fishing boat operators,” she lamented.
Because their boats are small and have no equipment, the fisherfolk weren’t able to reach far into the sea. They cannot compete with the bigger boats, the vice president said.
The lady official stressed that the turnover of the assistance to both groups is just the start of their “partnership.”
Robredo likes to call the beneficiaries of the OVP’s programs “partners,” insisting that doing so will strengthen their capacity, give them hope, and make them more confident about their power to participate in governance.