The Department of Agrarian Reform distributed yesterday Certificates of Land Ownership to 438 agrarian reform beneficiariesin Hacienda Teresa in Brgy. Alicante, E.B. Magalona town, Negros Occiddental.
The beneficiaries received 381.2565 hectares from newly-installed DAR Region 6 Director Alejandro Otacan, Assistant Regional Director Florentino Seladan and Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Teresita Mabunay.
Otacan said this is the fastest land acquisition so far where the ARBs acquired the land within 14 months only, because of the cooperation of the former land owner, Arturo Ledesma.
Mabunay told the farmers that since they are now the owners they are bound to fulfill their responsibilities that include the payment of amortizations with the Land Bank of the Philippines for three years.
Aside from paying the amortization, farmers should also pay the land tax, as failure to do so will mean disqualification from the Agrarian Reform Program, she said.
Mabunay added that farmers are not allowed to convert their land to commercial use, lease it or sell it to another person because these will also be grounds for disqualification.
DAR will check the farmers periodically to ensure that they are fulfilling their obligation and meeting the requirements of CARP.
Meanwhile, Ledesma said he originally wanted to offer a stock distribution option scheme to the ARBs, but later decided to voluntarily sell their land to the government, so it will be distributed to the beneficiaries.
He added that it is difficult for him to let go of the land that they earned through hard work, but he always prioritizes the welfare of their workers rather than focus on profit.
He appealed to the farmers, that now that they were given the opportunity to own the land that they tilled, they should make it productive.
Romeo Espanola, one of the beneficiaries, thanked the Ledesma family for its generosity, and DARfor teaching them the capability building and sugarcane technology.
Jovy Madayag, executive assistant of E.B. Magalona Mayor, David Albert Lacson,said the town government will help the ARBs to make the land they received from DAR productive.
Madayag said the town government is planning to purchase farming machines that the ARBs can rent for a lower price.
He said the town government will also provide a support system program for the ARBs.