A total of 149 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Pili, Camarines Sur were finally able to occupy their own lands after 27 long years.
This was after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) installed the farmer-beneficiaries as the rightful owners of a 81.85-hectare agricultural land in Barangay Cadlan, Pili town.
“The final step in the land acquisition and distribution process is the installation of these ARBs on their Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)-awarded lands,” DAR Camarines Sur II chief Maria Gracia R. Sales said.
According to Sales, the Land Tenure Services personnel at the provincial and municipal levels worked tirelessly toward a successful conclusion of the lengthy administrative and judicial fight between the farmers and former landowner Manubay Agro-Industrial and Development Corporation (MANDECOR).
The farmer-beneficiaries received their certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) during a formal ceremony at the Pili Covered Court, where they were also told of their obligations and duties as beneficiaries of the government’s agrarian reform program.
Under the government’s agrarian reform law, the DAR is mandated to acquire public and private agricultural lands and distribute them to tenants, farmers, farmworkers, or other tillers who meet the qualifications to become ARBs.
DAR said it already acquired the land under the CARP in 1994 but pending cases and the strong resistance of the landowners led to the protracted process.
For their part, the farmer-beneficiaries thanked DAR officials for their help the past three decades, which had been marked with intense disputes.
“The blood and sweat of our forefathers who persevered in tilling and cultivating this soil have stained these lands. That is why we are willing to sacrifice our lives to fulfill our dream of claiming this land as our own,” farmer-leader Arturo Bismonte said.
“We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to DAR Camarines Sur II people for sticking with us through the tough years. Their perseverance paid off, and we have witnessed the final stage of the CARP process. We are indeed very happy and grateful to finally come home,” he added.