PASSI CITY, Iloilo – Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado M. Estrella III on Friday appealed to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) to trust the government for continuous support and not to sell the lot awarded to them within 10 years or it will be reclaimed by the department.
Estrella delivered this message during the distribution of 2,358 titles to 1,500 ARBs from Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental in a ceremony held in Passi City.
“Hangga’t maari huwag po nating ibebenta ang mga lupa na matatanggap natin. In a period of 10 years mula nang matanggap ninyo ang titulo magmula ngayon hindi nyo puede ibenta ang lupa na yan (As much as possible we should not sell the lot that we will receive. In a period of 10 years, starting today you cannot sell the lot),” he said.
He added that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered to provide for all the needs of farmers to improve their lives.
In response, he said that the department has already started providing support services such as farm machinery and equipment (FME).
Simultaneous with the release of titles, 4,033 ARBs from 45 agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) are also recipients of PHP114.357 million worth of FME under the Sustainable and Resilient Agrarian Reform Communities (SuRe ARC) project.
The biggest was the concreting of five farm-to-market roads (FMRs) in Barangays Cabunga in Passi City; Cabilauan in Barotac Nuevo; and P.D. Monfort, Barasan, and Paloc Bigque in Dumangas, all in Iloilo province.
Further, the identified ARBOs also received six units of shredders, four units of hand tractors with trailers, five units of rice threshers, and two units of combined harvesters.
The department also held a groundbreaking for the tissue culture with a greenhouse to the local government of Passi worth PHP7 million and provided PHP774 bags of organic fertilizer valued at PHP493,636.
Elizabeth Bucane, chairperson of the Manduawak Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative from the municipality of San Dionisio said that two of their 143 members received their land titles while their organization is also a recipient of various FME.
She said that having the lot title in their names will have a big impact because their harvest from their farm will already be their own.
“The distribution of Certificate of Land Ownership Award and Emancipation Patents is a big thing for farmers and is a big help from the government,” she said in dialect.
Currently, their members are cultivating more or less 150 hectares of corn and more or less 62 hectares of rice, and 25 to 30 hectares of sugarcane.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., in his message, said he shared the commitment of the department for the full development of the agrarian reform community as the basic agricultural unit.
“This province is committed to maximize the agricultural production and in the process create a value chain for agricultural products,” he said, adding that the provincial government would want to generate business and employment opportunities.
Estrella brought with him his DAR family of undersecretaries and assistant secretaries including Undersecretary Jesry Palmares who is from Passi City. (PNA)