More than 1,300 farmers from Iloilo are expected to finally receive their own land titles from the government on Saturday, May 15, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) announced.
Agrarian Secretary Brother John Castriciones said Friday, May 14, that they will distribute 1,416 certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to a total of 1,322 farmers in Iloilo, who are beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
The land titles up for distribution cover a total of 1,416 hectares (ha) of land in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, and Iloilo, Castriciones said. The turnover ceremony will be held at the Sara National High School in Sara, Iloilo.
“I will personally deliver these land titles to give them hope, to let them feel that despite this pandemic, the government is here ready to give them help and support,” the secretary said.
Aside from the land titles, support services such as hand tractors, power tillers, rice threshers, grass cutters, spades, and sprayers worth P1 million will also be handed over to the Bagaybay Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries’ Organization during the distribution.
Meanwhile, the 175 agrarian beneficiaries of the 188.08 ha of the contentious landholdings of Nemesio Tan in Capiz have been installed. With this, the beneficiaries will finally own the land after more than 20 years of dispute.
“These ARBs (agrarian reform beneficiaries) have long struggled, when in 1997, the Nemesio Tan landholdings, located in the towns of Pilar and President Roxas, were covered under the [CARP],” Castriciones said.
The beneficiaries were supposed to receive their land titles from DAR but the heirs of Nemesio Tan appealed to the court and continued to control the property.
According to the department, the farmers’ continuous fight for their rights led to violence in February 2017, taking the life of one farmer and wounding four others.
“We conscientiously follow[ed] up with the authorities for the resolution of this case because our farmers are waiting for so long in these lands. Upon receiving the resolution of the case, we wasted no time to distribute them,” Castriciones said.