CABATUAN, Iloilo—The years of waiting is already over for 2,314 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) as they received their certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, June 20 in a distribution ceremony held at the Cabatuan multi-purpose gymnasium.
Duterte, together with Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones and Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. distributed 3,772 CLOAs covering a total area of 2,694 hectares of agricultural lands.
“Thank God for CARP (comprehensive agrarian reform program), for making this land finally ours! We also thank President Duterte for speeding up the process,” said Eduardo Venus, a farmer from Capiz.
“But it’s not only land, DAR also provided us with farm implements and trainings to increase our yield and income,” added farmer Venus.
DAR Secretary John Castriciones said the biggest number of CLOAs was distributed to 900 beneficiaries from the northern part of Negros Occidental with 1,775 certificates.
“The President also distributed 938 CLOAs to 556 beneficiaries from the southern part of Negros Occidental; 440 CLOAs to 367 beneficiaries from Capiz; 301 CLOAs to 221 beneficiaries from Iloilo province; 186 CLOAs to 158 beneficiaries from Guimaras; 76 CLOAs for 63 ARBs; and 56 CLOAs to 49 beneficiaries,” Castriciones said.
Land reform in Boracay
“I will continue to implement land reform,” said the President in his speech in front to more than 2,000 farmers.
"If validated as agricultural land ‘yan, ipamahagi ko yang mga lupa sa Boracay to qualified and deserving farmers,” Duterte added.
He said it is the problem of Secretary Emanuel Pinol of Department of Agriculture (DA) to determine if the land is arable.
“Sabi nila the land is not suited for agriculture, wala akong paki. It’s the problem of the DA, not mine. If it is arable then good. Bahala si Pinol diyan,” he said.
Duterte also appealed to his critics to allow the government to clean Boracay as he will return the island to its legitimate owner.
He also said that the whole island is a forestall-agriculture area, thus, it was never meant to be a commercial and residential area.
Provision of support services
A few hours prior to the arrival of the President, Castriciones led the ceremonial turnover of five farm-to-market roads to agrarian reform communities in Iloilo towns.
These are the concreting of Barangay San Andres to Barangay San Florentino FMR with a bridge amounting to P66.26 million in San Rafael; P52.52 million concreting of junction Barangay Agba-o - Tapacon- Inamyungan and Guinhulacan FMR with bridge in Bingawan; P34.12 concreting of Sitio Nagpana to Sitio Proper Libata to Barangay San Geronimo FMR in Barotac Viejo; PHP26 million concreting of Barangay Pulao to Sitio Burol, Barangay Sulangan FMR in Dumangas; and the PHP58 million concreting of the junction of the national road to Agsirbar to Bagongbong to Barangay Caguisanan FMR in Lambunao.
Under the DAR’s Client Resilient Farm Productivity Support Project, agrarian reform communities in Iloilo and Capiz also received four heavy-duty farm tractors and one rice harvester.
“We want to uplift their economic lives by increasing their agricultural production and household income. That’s why these farm inputs are being provided to enhance the support systems of our agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs),” Castriciones said.
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