BACOLOD CITY – A total of 1,940 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in the province of Negros Occidental expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) as they received their certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) in a distribution ceremony held on Tuesday, March 27 here in Bacolod City.
Data provided by DAR Negros Occidental indicated that a total of 1,823.55 hectares of agricultural lands were distributed to the beneficiaries on Tuesday covering 108 landholdings in the 23 municipalities with the crops classification of 65% sugarcane,15% ricefield, 10% corn, 7% root crops and 3% mixed trees.
DAR Regional Director Stephen Leonidas said 99% of the distributed property is private landholdings.
“Almost all landholdings to be distributed in this part of the region are private properties owned by powerful landowners. They have the influence, money, and power to either delay DAR’s coverage of their properties or stop us from harassing or suing our people. But with our utmost dedication and by pooling all our resources, efforts and strategies we can distribute all these lands in the near future,” Leonidas said.
DAR Undersecretary for Field Operations Office Karlo S. Bello said that the DAR is doing its best to give them the land they were tilling for many years; and now that they are the owner of the property they should work doubly hard to take good care of it.
Fast-tracking of the processing and release of CLOAs is also emphasized under the leadership of DAR Secretary John R. Castriciones.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte mandated the DAR to give you (farmers) what is rightfully yours. He wants to make good on his promise to uplift the economic lives of our landless farmers that is why he wants to hasten the distribution of lands in the countryside,” Bello said.
The Undersecretary remind the farmer-beneficiaries to pay their amortizations and taxes religiously as it is one of the main obligations of a landowner.
Assistant Regional Director Ronald Gareza, on the other hand, remind the farmers to not pawn their lands.
Farmer-beneficiary Inocencio Jayona from Hacienda Lina of Barangay Chambery in Manapla town, on his part, said that he and his fellow beneficiaries will organize an association or cooperative so that they will immediately receive DAR’s support service to boost their newly-acquired landholdings.
“We are thankful to Duterte administration and the DAR because they are doing their best to help us improve our lives,” Jayona said.
After the CLOA distribution, Undersecretary Bello, who recognized the collective effort of the DAR personnel in this province for helping the farmers achieve their dreams, gathered them together with Regional Director Leonidas and Asst. Regional Director Gareza to hear their issues and concerns about their work and to come up with possible strategies to smoothen their job.
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