THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp), distributed 7,709 hectares of agricultural lands to 7,268 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Negros Occidental Thursday, September 30.
DAR Secretary John Castriciones, who led the distribution rites at Pontevedra Gymnasium, said farmer beneficiaries deserved to get all the help that they need since they have played important roles in saving the community especially during this coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
"Our farmers are our heroes for they are providing food on our table and we must thank them for playing a critical role in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and embracing all the challenges to produce food more sustainably," he said.
The agency distributed a total of 12,054 certificates of land ownership awards (Cloas) to farmer beneficiaries.
Some 4,119.5624 hectares were distributed to 3,926 farmer beneficiaries from various municipalities and cities in the northern portion of Negros Occidental.
In the southern part of the province, on the other hand, 3,342 ARBs will share the 3,589.5345 hectares of agricultural lands. These are covered by 5,321 land titles involving various landholdings located in various local government units (LGUs).
Castriciones said the province is considered as the highland area for having the highest target of land acquisition and distribution (LAD) under Carp.
As of this date, the agency has a remaining balance of over 124,000 hectares of agricultural lands which are yet to be distributed to ARBs.
Farmer beneficiaries are encouraged to form into a cooperative or organization to avail bundles of support services particularly from the agency, he added.
DAR-Western Visayas Director Sheila Enciso, who was also present during the activity, reminded the farmer beneficiaries not to engage in illegal activities such as leasing, selling, illegal transfer and illegal conversion of Carp-awarded lands.
For his part, Pontevedra Mayor Jose Maria Alonso expressed his gratitude to the DAR for the support services the Municipal Government has received from the agency.
"Today, Pontevedra has more or less 4,500 farmer beneficiaries and 17 agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations who are now serving as active partners of the LGU in the formation and implementation of several development plans," Alonso said.
Alonso also assured the agency of the LGU's continued support and commitment in the implementation of Carp as a tool "to achieve social justice, equitable land ownership and eliminate landownership classes in the society."
On the same day, Castriciones also led the installation of 51 ARBs of the four landholdings located at Barangay Abo-abo in Murcia town.
These ARBs will share the 48.5136 hectares of the landholdings covered by the agency through Carp.
Also present during the said activity were DAR's top officials coming from central, regional and provincial offices, members of the Provincial Carp Implementing Team, and other local officials.