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Mindoro tillers get land

inquirerAGRARIAN Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, for the first time, has turned over land to farm workers, nine weeks since taking the helm of the office where he used to lead protest rallies. Mariano, a former representative of the party-list group Anakpawis and former chair of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, awarded land titles to 175 farm workers for 105.33 hectares of mango orchard formerly owned by Golden Country Farms Inc. in Mamburao town in Occidental Mindoro province.

One of the beneficiaries, Candelaria Cabartes, 74, tightly held on to Mariano to express her joy during the awarding ceremonies held in Barangay Tayamaan last week.

Mamburao Mayor Angelina Trias and other Department of Agrarian Reform officials were on hand for the awarding of the certificates of land ownership award (Cloa).

The DAR said farmer-beneficiaries are already occupying their lots.

DAR records showed that the previously sequestered Golden Country Farms landholding covered a total 604 ha.

In 2007, the DAR placed 105 ha of mango orchard under compulsory acquisition. The agency, however, was only able to conduct a land survey in 2013 and issue a land valuation by the end of that year. The Cloas were registered in 2014.

The company was reportedly able to keep its hold on 355 ha of the property through an exemption order approved by the Office of the President. Dona Z. Pazzibugan


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