QUEZON PROVINCE – The long wait is over for 510 Quezon farmers who received their individual certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in a distribution ceremony held at the municipal covered court of San Narciso town on Wednesday, April 18.
“I am so overwhelmed with happiness. I waited more than 20 years for this… now I can finally earn more for my family,” said Fausto Barzal, 67, a tree farmer from Calauag Quezon.
Brazal who earns from farming trees like coconut, mahogany, and gemelina explained that profit sharing with his former employer is pegged at 60/40 where the 60 percent goes to the landowner and the 40 percent belongs to him.
“Now that I’m a landowner, my share of the profit would be bigger. Plus, I can now plant any crops I want on my own land,” added Brazal.
Another farmer-beneficiary Melecio Valenzuela, 55, married with four kids from San Narciso said he has been farming for more than 20 years.
It is only during the administration of President Duterte and the present leadership of DAR that he is assured of land ownership.
“For the past 20 years, my wife and I were always fearful that we might be ejected from the farm. But with this CLOA, nobody can do that to us anymore,” Valenzuela said.
The fast-tracking of the processing and release of CLOAs is among the mandate of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to DAR.
President Duterte also directed DAR to ensure the release of support programs and services to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
The CLOA distribution on Wednesday was led by DAR Undersecretary for Policy and Planning David Erro who represented DAR Secretary John R. Castriciones together with Undersecretary for Field Operations Karlo S. Bello and Regional Director Luis Bueno of DAR Region 4-A.
The CLOAS awarded covered a total land area of 780 hectares in various municipalities of Bondoc Peninsula namely: Agdangan, Buenavista, Catanauan, Gen. Luna, San Andres, San Francisco and San Narciso. In the Lamon Bay area, the municipalities covered with CLOAs are Atimonan, Calauag, Guinayangan, Gumaca, Lopez, Quezon, and Tagkawayan.
In his message, landlessness and land problems, Erro said, are among the root causes of poverty and conflicts in Quezon. “Now that our farmers own the land they till, we expect that peace and harmony will now prevail over these areas.”
Erro said the government vows to pursue the DAR’s cause to uplift the lives of poor farmers in the country.
“The mandate of DAR is not limited to land distribution to the farmer-beneficiaries. It is also to ensure the package of support services like livelihood training, farm inputs, and technology to ensure the maximum benefits from their CLOA,” said Erro.
Bello, on the other hand, reiterated President Duterte’s clear policy instruction to give individual CLOAs and not collective CLOAs to agrarian reform beneficiaries.
“Individual CLOAs are better because it enables farmer-beneficiaries to have a clear and defined ownership of parcels of land. Unlike in collective CLOAs where a group of farmers owns the land,” Bello said.
During the event, DAR also awarded certificates of full payment to 72 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) who has completed the payment of their awarded lands.
DAR Regional Director Luis Bueno said the certificates of full payment are being given to give recognition to those ARBs who, for the past 30 years, diligently did their best to pay their amortization to the Land Bank of the Phil.
“We hope that by recognizing them, the farmers who are still paying for their amortization would be discouraged to sell or pawn their awarded lands. We want them to feel the benefits and rewards of truly owning your land by patiently paying the amortization,” explains Bueno.
The certificate of full payment is a document that proves the farmer-beneficiary has followed the requirements set by the government under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and has paid fully the agricultural land for the past 30 years.
The local government officials present at the CLOA distribution were: Governor David Suarez, Congressman Danilo Suarez, San Narciso Municipal Mayor Florabelle Uy-Yap, Land Bank Asst. Vice-President Ramilito Basbacio, Atty. Sherwin Fernandez of the Register of Deeds, Municipal Assessor Ma. Aiza Genovana and Municipal Treasurer Rogelito Rivera.
Photo 1: Farmers-turned landowners wave their CLOAs. In front of them are DAR officials and the local officials of Quezon Province.
Photo 2: Undersecretary for Policy and Planning David Erro speaking before farmer-beneficiaries in behalf of DAR Secretary John Castriciones.
Photo 3: DAR Undersecretary for Policy and Planning David Erro led the distribution of CLOAs together with Undersecretary for field operations Karlo S. Bello and Regional Director Luis Bueno.
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