OWN LAND. Several of the 296 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, show their certificates of land ownership award after the distribution activity on March 17, 2023.  A total of 696.3 hectares of land in Barangay Payong-Payong were distributed to the beneficiaries. (Photo courtesy of DAR-North Cotabato)

COTABATO CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has awarded Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to 296 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato.

Provincial agrarian reform program officer Evangeline Bueno said Tuesday the ARBs of Barangay Payong-payong, an upland farming community in the municipality, were granted 272 CLOAs covering 696.3 hectares during the distribution activity held on March 17.

"We are doing our best to fast-track the distribution of lands as mandated by Secretary Conrado Estrella III and provide them with support services to bring the government closer to the people," Bueno said.

She said support services would be strengthened in the area to enhance the ARBs' capacities and offer them enterprise development and economic support interventions to increase productivity, income, and quality of life.

During the distribution, beneficiary Pakir Pasawiran expressed excitement about receiving his land title, which he considers a “treasure."

"The land title is very important to us because it is proof that we can tell anyone that we are the absolute owner of the land,” Pasawiran was quoted in the DAR statement as saying.

Meanwhile, Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARPO) Maricel Bona reminded the beneficiaries of their obligations, including paying taxes and land amortization, and not selling or leasing their lands. (PNA)