Catbalogan, Samar – “For 60 years, I was cultivating a land that I did not own. I almost gave up, but the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) never gave up on me. Now, I can proudly say that I am a landowner in my own little way.”
These were the emotional words of an ecstatic Antonio Acosta Sr., an 83 year old farmer from Paranas Town, after he and 1,233 other farmer-beneficiaries received their long sought-after Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) from DAR Secretary John Castriciones on 30 August 2018.
During this momentous event, Mang Antonio was accompanied by his son Antonio Jr., 38 years old, not as an heir to the CLOA that his father received, but also as a recipient of an agricultural land that was formerly and privately owned by Mr. Jesus Tabubus. The father and son farmers now have a combined farmland of more than 5 hectares.
But CARP-covered former private lands weren't the only properties distributed by DAR in Western Samar. 73 year-old Herminia Cerudo from the town of Villareal received a CLOA for a 2-hectare government-owned land. Cerudo thanked the government for making her dream of having a piece of land to cultivate and to share with her seven children a reality.
These properties form part of the 2,658.88 hectares of land covered by 1,233 CLOAs distributed by Secretary Castriciones in a ceremony held at the Samar State University. In his message to the CLOA recipients, Castriciones disclosed that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered him to pursue a more aggressive agrarian reform program to ensure that the farmer-beneficiaries are provided with what they need to uplift their economic lives.
“DAR does not end in distribution of lands. We also provide support services such as farm machineries, credit and infrastructure facilities, and housing for farmer-beneficiaries, among others, to boost their agricultural production and also their incomes,” Castriciones said.
The DAR chief also told the farmers that they are the real heroes in this country.
“You provide food in the table. It is just right that the government should provide you with all the support that you deserve,” Castriciones said.
Castriciones, however, reminded the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) to take care of their newly-acquired property, uphold their responsibilities and discouraged them from selling their lands.
Furthermore, Regional Director Shiela Enciso advised the ARBs to organize themselves or join Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries’ Organizations (ARBOs), because it is through these organizations that the DAR can immediately course its various support services through.
The distributed lands were from from the municipalities of Basey with 22.47 hectares; Calbayog City, 15.57 has.; Calbiga, 29.77 has.; Catbalogan, 339.69 has.; Daram, 241.73 has.; Gandaram, 395.06 has.; Hinabangan, 19.75 has.; Jiabong, 74.99 has.; Marabut, 166.81 has.; Motiong, 38.82 has.; Pagsanghan, 59.89 has.; Paranas, 238.55 has.;Pinabacdao 70.83 has.; San Jorge, 258.27 has.; Sta. Margarita 95.39 has.; Sta. Rita 168.22 has.; Sto. Nino, 63.84 has.; Tarangnan 107.58 has.; and Villareal, 251.57 has.
Photo 1: Secretary John Castriciones congratulates Mr. Antonio Acosta Sr., 83 years old and his 38-year old son who both received certificates of land ownership awards (CLOA) from the DAR.
Photo 2: Secretary John Castriciones delivers his message to 1,233 agrarian reform beneficiaries in Western Samar.
Photo 3: The agrarian reform beneficiaries of Western Samar express jubilation after they received their land titles.
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