AGRARIAN reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Cagayan province have received a total of 560 hectares of farmland from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that is expected to bring more economic opportunities to them as landowners, no longer as tenants.
The department had constructed bridges worth P33.2 million, making it easier for the ARBs to transport their products or inputs to and from the nearest market in the municipality of Allacapan.
DAR Region 2 Director Samuel Solomero said the bridge will help 2,000 residents, 352 of whom are ARBs.
"With this bridge, our farmers can easily deliver their agricultural products from various markets and trade centers," Solomero also said, adding that the bridge project was implemented under the "President's Bridge for Agrarian Development," a joint project of the DAR, the Department of Public Works and Highways and Allacapan local government.
DAR Secretary Bernie Cruz said the allotted lands will benefit 546 ARBs from the municipalities of Solana, Lal-lo and Baggao.
Recently, Cruz led the ceremonial distribution of certificates of land ownership award in Lal-lo town and noted that farmers are entitled to get all the help they need because they play an important role in saving the community, especially in this time of the pandemic.
"We owe a lot to our farmers. With all the challenges they faced during the pandemic, they were able to provide food for the country, and they still do that to this day," he said.
Of the 560 hectares distributed, 132 hectares were implemented under the agency's land acquisition and distribution, 404 hectares under Executive Order (EO) 75 of President Rodrigo Duterte on Feb. 1, 2019 and 23 hectares under the agency's support to parcellation of lands for individual titling or split projects.
Cruz explained that EO 75, which classified the 404 hectares as government-owned lands, prompted the DAR to expedite the process of subjugation of such lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
"We have identified Cagayan State University, a government-owned land, suitable for agriculture to be distributed to eligible beneficiaries in the municipality of Lal-lo," he said, adding that this was based on the President's EO 75.
He also said 30 agricultural graduates were also provided with one hectare of land each to encourage other youth to take a farming course.
"We are also proud to have now awarded these agricultural graduates from the Cagayan State University to encourage more youth to engage in farming. We hope that through this, the country will achieve food security," Cruz added.