Agrarian reform beneficiaries thank Duterte for land titles

By Liza Agoot

November 10, 2017, 4:59 pm

BAGUIO CITY — After more than 10 years of waiting for the government to legitimize her family’s ownership of the land they till, Rosalina Barwelo, 58, was all smiles after the title was finally handed to her.

“Masaya po ako dahil ‘yung inaantay namin ng mahigit 10 years, nakamit na namin ngayon (I am happy because we have been waiting for more than 10 years and finally, we have received it [land title]),” she said.

Barwelo, a rice farmer from Busilac in Alfonso Lista town in Ifugao, received the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) from Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Undersecretary for Field Operations Karlo Bello, Regional Director Marjorie Ayson, and other department officials, Wednesday.

“Nagpapasalamat po kami kay President Duterte dahil naibigay na yung inaasam-asam namin, yung titulo na gusto naming mahawakan (We are thankful to President Rodrigo Duterte because he released what we have been clamoring for, the title we have wanted to get hold of).”

She said that with the title, the fear that the land they are farming would be taken away from them has vanished and her name being in the title assures her ownership over the land.

The DAR released a total of 1,819 CLOAs covering an area of 937 hectares in the Cordillera region to 1,652 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs). Some of the CLOAs were collective and distributed to farmers' organizations.

There were 387 ARBs from Mountain Province who received their individual CLOAs; 379 in Kalinga; 376 in Ifugao; 351 in Ifugao; 120 in Apayao; and 39 in Abra.

Bello said the President issued a clear policy instruction to give the individual titles (CLOA) to the agrarian reform beneficiaries and not collective CLOAs, like in the past, and for the department to perform its mandate with urgency and to regularly submit a good accomplishment.

The official said the activity is very important because it formalizes the recognition of the legitimacy of the ownership of the farmers over the land they till.

He said that the CLOA distribution is being done nationwide and many more similar activities will follow in the coming months.

Bello relayed the President’s instruction to fast-track the distribution and to see to it that the ARBs will not wait for many more years to have their land titles.

Some of those who received their CLOAs have been waiting for at least 20 years to get hold of the only document that would show their ownership of the land.

Ayson said that still being processed are almost 4,000 hectares for new lands while about 15,000 are classified under re-documentation.

Re-documentation means the ARBs already submitted documents in the past but those were either lost, misplaced or were nowhere to be found, hence the need to start the documentation process all over again.

Of the 1,819 CLOAs released here, 1,125 of them underwent re-documentation.

Bello said DAR has projected to release 45,000 to 47,000 CLOAs a year.

Aside from CLOA distribution, DAR also turned over two support projects to ARB organizations and cooperatives on Wednesday.

These projects include the Community-Managed Potable Water Sanitation and Hygiene (CPWASH) worth PHP240,000, and the Village-Level Processing Center Enhancement Project (VLPCEP) worth PHP900,000.

The CPWASH will cover three ARB communities consisting of 38 households who are members of three ARB organizations and cooperatives in Benguet.

Part of the CPWASH project are six units of water tanks that will provide safe drinking water to the ARBs in the area.

The VLPCEP project, on the other hand, will benefit two ARB communities and two ARB organizations in the areas of Atok, Sablan and Tuba in Benguet. Among the recipients of VLPCEP projects are the Arabica Coffee Growers Marketing and the Agrarian Reform Community Multi-Purpose Cooperatives in the area.

DAR will deliver more projects to the ARBs in Cordillera, particularly the distribution of coffee seedlings and other machinery to further develop their lands as part of the support for the improvement of the condition of the farmers and residents in rural areas. (PNA)