DAR chief says personally distributing help to farmers around PH isn't a political gimmick

Published August 18, 2021, 5:02 PM

by Betheena Unite

Going around the country to distribute land titles to landless farmers has nothing to do with political gimmicky, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones said on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

DAR Secretary Brother John Castriciones (Photo courtesy of Malacañang)

This, as the agrarian chief insisted during a press briefing in Daraga, Albay that the agency’s initiative to deliver help to farmers in far-flung areas was just the agency’s way of making the beneficiaries feel important.

“I don’t think so,” he said when asked if his recent display of the agency’s achievements in the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic was a way to introduce himself more to the public after being named by ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) as among its bets for a senatorial seat.

“Before the pandemic we have been doing our best to reach out to our farmers. You know the best way in order to make our farmers feel that they are really important in our society is to make them feel that the government is going down to reach out to them. This is not only a political gimmicky,” Castriciones added.

“As a matter of fact, as you can see, I’ve been going around the country ever since the pandemic. Who is in his right senses would go to far-flung areas just so he would expose himself to a lot of health problems,” he argued.

The DAR secretary said he would not risk his health just to gain political advantage, adding that there is no use of having popularity “if you are six feet under the soil already”.

“So in other words, this is something that comes from the heart because we know for a fact that this is the right time, especially in the time of pandemic, that we really have to show our genuine and sincere support to our farmers,” he said.

But ultimately, the secretary admitted that he is open to the idea of being candidate for next year’s senatorial race under the administration banner.

“Nakikita doon pina-publish ng PDP-Laban na (It is seen in the statements of PDP-Laban) they are considering me for the position but this is something that fate and destiny brings. For me, it is difficult to make a decision at this point in time but if there’s a way in which I would be able to help our farmers more by becoming a legislator why not?” Castriciones said.

“I am open to that idea but…at this point of time, it hasn’t entered my mind but if they will push me and the President endorses me to become one, I will be more willing to accept it,” he added.