BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, July 12 (PIA)–Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones led the distribution of certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) and support services to 1,157 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Cagayan Valley on Tuesday, July 10.
The agricultural lands covering an area of 2,044 hectares are situated in the provinces of Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Isabela.
Castriciones said the issuance of titles shows that the government recognizes the role of farmers as true heroes of the country.
The secretary said President Duterte’s directive to pursue a more aggressive agrarian reform program will ensure that farmer-beneficiaries are provided with what they need to uplift their economic lives.
“Where before they were left out by the government, the President will do its best to make them feel loved by providing the needed production loans, farm machineries, seeds, irrigation, farm-to-market roads, and other support services that would enhance their economic activities that would ultimately integrate their economic well-being into the mainstream of society,” Castriciones said.
He added that under the Duterte administration, the DAR, being the lead implementing agency of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), will implement a two-pronged approach to separately cover more private and public agricultural lands for distribution to landless farmers.
For government-owned agricultural lands, Castriciones said the DAR is looking at identifying unclassified public lands or lands of the public domain with still no classification that may be converted into agricultural land.
“To achieve this, we have drafted an executive order (EO) for approval by the President,” he said, adding that a bill is also being prepared by DAR which would contain procedures to acquire more agricultural lands for distribution and more measures to empower farmers.
“In this bill that we are drafting, we will distribute individual CLOAs instead of collective CLOAs. The President prefers this, and we agree because it is more empowering for farmers,” the Secretary added.
According to him, individual CLOAs is better because it enables farmer-beneficiaries to have a clear and defined ownership of parcels of land unlike in collective CLOAs where a group of farmers owns the land.
Turn over of support services
On the same event, Castriciones, assisted by DAR Undersecretary for support services Emily Padilla, led the ceremonial turnover of farm machines which includes harvesters and tractors worth P50.5 million to farm cooperatives in Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela and Cagayan.
“We want to uplift their economic lives by increasing their agricultural production and household income. That’s why these farm inputs are being provided to enhance the support systems of our ARBs,” Padilla said.
The DAR also turned over three bridges under the Tulay ng Pangulo para sa kaunlarang Pang-Agraryo. The bridges are in Baggao, Cagayan; Luna and Echague in Isabela.
Under the Village Level farm-focused enterprise Development (VELFED), a food-processing center was turned over to the Villa Pascua Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Quirino while the Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP) project worth P293,000 was also turned over to the Tres Reyes ARB Cooperative, also in Quirino.
Castriciones also launched the ARB Housing for farmers. “Our farmers do not only need their own land to till, they also need to have a house of their own.”
Also launched were the following: The DAR-Land Bank partnership on Accessible and Sustainable Lending program for farmers (ASL) and the livelihood assistance project in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Farmer Pacita Balingan of Nueva Vizcaya couldn’t contain her happiness and shed tears of joy after receiving so much help from DAR.
“Salamat President Duterte, salamat DAR sa suporta sa ming mga magsasaka. Ramdam namin ang mga pagtulong ninyo sa amin para makamit ang tunay na pagbabago,” Balingan said. (ALM/PIA-2/DAR Press Release)
Source: PIA Feed