NEW OWNERS. Forty-seven agrarian reform beneficiaries receive their certificates of land ownership awards at the municipal gym of New Corella in Davao del Norte on Dec. 5, 2022. The Department of Agrarian Reform plans to issue about 134,000 more individual titles in 2023. (Courtesy of DAR-Davao del Norte)

MANILA – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will speed up the distribution of land ownership titles in 2023, among the plans that Secretary Conrado Estrella III will present during the Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Tuesday.

DAR targets to complete the subdivision of about 34,500 collective certificates of land ownership awards (CLOA) covering 345,089 hectares of land and issuing 134,000 individual titles to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), according to a statement on Monday.

The agency is also anticipating the approval of the Senate version of House Bill (HB) 6336, or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act that will ease the financial burden of ARBs by condoning unpaid amortizations and interests and exempting payment of estate tax of agricultural lands awarded under the comprehensive agrarian reform program.

HB 6336 proposes to condone or write off “unpaid amortizations, interest payments, surcharges, and penalties of existing loans.”

The Land Bank of the Philippines shall assume the balances of unpaid obligations of ARBs to land owners.

Other DAR targets include overhauling legal processes and accelerating the adjudication and resolution of pending agrarian cases; and broadening credit, technical, and infrastructure development support for the ARBs, their organizations, and communities to create employment and business opportunities in the countryside.

DAR will also update its database, institutionalize an Agrarian Reform Information Resource Center, and provide stakeholders with easy access to information.

Also in the pipeline is the expansion of the DAR scholarship program and support services for ARB scholars, and the promotion of inter-agency project collaborations for the benefit of the ARBs, their organizations, and communities.

Among DAR’s accomplishments for 2022 since Estrella assumed office is Executive Order No. 4 on Sept. 13 that directed a moratorium on the payment of the principal obligation and interest of the amortization due and payable by ARBs.

DAR has also distributed CLOAs to ARBs from Tarlac, Laguna, Palawan, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Davao, Pagadian, and Soccsksargen.

The DAR Adjudication Board, meanwhile, reported that as of Sept. 8, a total of 638,445 out of 640,807 cases have been resolved while there are only 2,291 pending Agrarian Law Implementation cases out of 945,875 from 1993 to June 2022.

Estrella thanked President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for his support, especially to ARBs.

“For 2023, DAR will deliver as expected and we will continue to bring government closer to the people,” Estrella said in a statement. (PNA)