By Mike U. Crismundo

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Provincial Office personally spearheaded by Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer ll (PARPO II) Jamil P. Amatonding Jr. proudly handed over the keys of the newly constructed Crystal Oil Repacking Center (CORC) to the officials of Filipinas Palmoil Plantation Inc. Agrarian Reform beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (FPPI ARB MPC) at Purok 4, Barangay Ebro, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.

The completed CORC was also happily received by the officials of FPPI ARB MPC Chairperson Jesus Simbajon during ceremony on Friday (June 5).

The provision of the facility is under the DAR’s Village Level Farm Focused Enterprise Development (VLFED) project which aims to establish a sustainable Income-Generating Project (IGP) in the area and to provide additional income to 656 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) of the FPPI ARB MPC, develop rural-based entrepreneurs, upgrade the production, processing, packaging and distribution and marketing of product and at the same time augment the ARBO’s income.

The total cost of this VLFED project for the coop is P780,000.00 of which P300,000 was allotted for the repacking facility while the rest is intended for capacity development.

“My only hope is for the cooperative to manage the building very well so that in the end you will live a more comfortable life.” Said PARPO Amatonding, in his message after the ceremonial cutting of ribbon ceremony.

“It is with our best interest to help you so that you will stand above the rest in terms of income,” stressed the Agusan del Sur PARO ll official.

In his message, chairperson Simbajon narrated the story that leads to the idea of venturing into product enhancement of palm oil. “Before, we only engage into labor contracting or credit services to our members, but through DAR’s initiative to help us, we have come up with this kind of enterprise, and, we are happy because we have seen the positive outcome since the product launching in 2018,” he said.

FPPI ARB MPC Manager Josephine Palen likewise recognized the initiative of the department in looking after the ARBO’s welfare. “What we are today, we owe everything to DAR,” she said.

With PARPO Amatonding and Chairperson Simbajon during the ceremonial cutting of ribbon were ARBDSP Chief Joven Pizarro, OIC-MARPO Josette J. Simbajon, DTI Provincial Director Jose T. Baron, DOST Science Research Specialist Wenceslao Tianero and Bryan G. Campos, FPPI Manager Josephine B. Palen and other coop officials.

Meanwhile, DAR Agusan del Sur through the Provincial Investment and Marketing Assistance Officer (PIMAO) has facilitated the processing of the FDA-LTO to expand the product in a wider market.

Apart from the local market in Caraga, FPPI ARB MPC has also established the distribution of crystal cooking oil to the institutional market under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP).

“With the approval of the FDA-LTO, we hope to expand our market not just locally but even internationally.” PARPO ll Amatonding added.