By John Noel E. Herrera
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on Friday, Feb 17, 2023, distributed agricultural lands to 1,500 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Western Visayas.
The distribution of emancipation patents (EPs) and certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to qualified ARBs in the region covered a total of 1,649.5769 hectares of land.
Data from DAR-6 indicated that 135.9427 hectares were given to 83 ARBs in Antique; 403.3648 hectares to 334 ARBs in Capiz; 32.6869 hectares to 22 ARBs in Guimaras; 349.1821 hectares to 320 ARBs in Iloilo; 347.0132 hectares to 426 ARBs in Negros Occidental North, and 381.3864 hectares to 316 ARBs in Negros Occidental South.
DAR Secretary Conrado M. Estrella III, who personally led the distribution of land titles in Passi City, reminded the farmer-beneficiaries not to sell or pawn the land they received from the government.
Estrella stressed that the lands acquired by beneficiaries under the program may not be sold, transferred or conveyed, except through hereditary succession, or to the government, and other qualified beneficiaries for a period of 10 years.
He also mentioned some courses and scholarships offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other institutions to upgrade the skills of farmers.
Meanwhile, several beneficiaries said their efforts and perseverance paid off after receiving their land titles.
Miguel Alayon, 75, of Capiz was overwhelmed with joy as he received his certificate of land ownership from DAR after 20 long years.
“Gapasalamat gid kami sa DAR kay dugay na gid ni namon gina hulat, salamat kay nag-abot na gid,” Alayon said.
Another beneficiary expressed his happiness after receiving the land title and emphasized that he would take good care of it, as it would help his family attain a better life.
“Salamat gid sa DAR para diri… Kag para sa akon, ti intindiron ko gid ni sang mayo kay ini malang amon pinaka gina-kwaan pangabuhi-an and amu gid ni makabulig sa amon kabuhi. Hindi ko gid ni pagpabay-an,” Arturo Duramal said.
Aside from the distribution of EP and CLOA, DAR turned over P114,357,636.50 worth of farm machinery and equipment (FME), through the Sustainable and Resilient Agrarian Reform Communities (SuRe ARC) project, to selected Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organizations (ARBOs) in Iloilo province.
The equipment includes six units of shredder, four units of handtractor with trailer, five units of rice thresher, one unit corn combine harvester, and one unit of combine harvester.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr, who attended the event, said that the FME would help the farmers in their farm production, and noted that it is important to have these projects as Iloilo is an agricultural province.
DAR also led the turnover of P7 million worth of Passi City Tissue Culture Facility with Greenhouse and the groundbreaking ceremony of different Farm-to-Market Road (FMR) projects in the province.