756 farmers receive land titles, livelihood assistance from DAR

CALAPAN CITY – Some 756 agrarian reform beneficiaries recently received certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) from Agrarian Reform Secretary John R. Castriciones at the Bulwagang Panlalawigan Capitol Compound here.

The distributed CLOAs last April 25 covered 623 hectares of agricultural lands in the municipalities of Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro.

Fruit farmer Restituto Zapata, 52, from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro was one of the farmer-recipients. 

“I have been working in this land, assisting my parents who were tenants since I was 20 years old,” said Zapata, received 0.6 hectares of farm lot.

“Now that the land I till is mine, I plan to plant it with citrus fruits like kalamansi and cintures” he added. 

A portion of the 623 hectares were home lots given to 134 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

Farmer Jerry Calub of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro was overjoyed after being informed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that he will receive a 90-square-meter home lot.

“The long wait is finally over. The lot where my house stands is now legally mine,” said Calub.

In his message, Castriciones urged the ARBs to cherish the day they received their respective CLOAs that signify their freedom from the bondage of tenancy.

“Ito ang araw na dapat tayo’y maging masaya sapagkat matatanggap ng ating mga farmer-beneficiaries ang kanilang CLOA na kanilang matagal nang hinihintay. Iyan ang magpapatunay na sila ay tunay na mga Pilipino at tunay na nagmamay-ari na ng lupa,” Castriciones said.

“Sila ay biniyayaan ng ating Panginoong Diyos, sa pamamagitan ng ating pamahalaan, ni President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, ng mga kawani ng DAR, at sa tulong ng ating mga partners at LGUs (local government units) upang matanggap na ng mga magsasaka ang kanilang sariling lupa,” the DAR chief added.

For their part, DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officers Joselito Nathaniel Diaz and Luisito Jacinto led the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the DAR and the recipient cooperatives on the Convergence on Livelihood Assistance for Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Project (CLAAP). 

The program is in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that aims to boost farmers’ household income by helping them develop their agricultural enterprises through livelihood and micro-enterprise projects like vegetable and fruit farming, food processing, and livestock raising, among others.

A P1.3 million project assistance under CLAAP will be implemented specifically to provide seed capital assistance on the establishment of consumer stores (sari-sari stores), rice retail outlets, and provision of farm agricultural supplies as such fertilizers and pesticides.

“A portion of the CLAAP fund will also be used to train farmers on basic entrepreneurship to help them appreciate and understand the ropes of running a business,” said Diaz.

Expected to benefit from the said project are 93 beneficiaries comprising of ARBs and non-ARBs from three cooperatives, namely the Matatag Multi-Purpose Cooperative, New Dagupan ARB-MPC and the Bubog Development Cooperative.  

“Implementation of the CLAAP will immediately start now that the agreement has been signed,” Jacinto said.

Castriciones emphasized the value of being industrious, hardworking, helpful towards one another and thankful to God, the government and the DAR for such blessings.  He further said that the DAR will continue to give more lands to the landless and to provide the necessary support services to the ARBs.