Around 756 agrarian reform beneficiaries are now certified land owners after they finally received their Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in fitting rites at the Bulwagang Panlalawigan of the Capitol Compound here.
DAR Public Assistance and Media Relations Director Cleon Lester Chavez told PNA on Wednesday that farmer beneficiaries of both Oriental and Occidental Mindoro towns each received their CLOAs from DAR Secretary John Castriciones last April 25.
Castriciones also underscored the value of being industrious, hardworking, helpful towards one another and thankful to God, the government, and the DAR for such blessings.
He also 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 (this is the day that we should rejoice because our farmer-beneficiaries now receive their CLOA which they have been long waiting for. That is proof that they are true Filipinos and the real owners of their lands now),” Castriciones said.
The DAR chief said the agrarian reform beneficiaries have received God’s blessing of the land they till, through the government and the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and the assistance of the DAR, with the support of partners and the local government units (LGUs) to finally own the lands.
He added the agrarian reform department will continue to give more lands to the landless and provide the necessary support services to the ARBs.
Of the apportioned lots covering some 623 hectares of agricultural lands, a portion considered as home lots were given to 134 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
One of the farmer-recipients, Restituto Zapata, 52, a fruit farmer from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, was overjoyed that he now owns the 0.6-hectare farm lot given by DAR.
“I have been working in this land, assisting my parents who were tenants since I was 20 years old,” said Zapata in Filipino, adding “now that the land I till is mine, I plan to plant it with citrus fruits like kalamansi”.
Another farmer from Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, Jerry Calub, also expressed elation after he was notified as a DAR beneficiary of a 90-square-meter home lot.
“The long wait is finally over. The lot where my house stands is now legally mine,” Calub said.
As part of the awarding ceremony, DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officers Joselito Nathaniel Diaz and Luisito Jacinto also led the signing of the memorandum of agreement between DAR and the recipient cooperatives on the Convergence on Livelihood Assistance for Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Project (CLAAP).
The project, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), aims to boost farmers’ household income through assistance to develop their agricultural enterprises, such as livelihood and micro-enterprise projects on vegetable and fruit farming, food processing, and livestock raising, among others.
DAR, with partner DSWD, is implementing the PHP1.3-million project assistance under CLAAP to specifically provide seed capital 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,” Diaz said.
The project targets 93 beneficiaries comprised 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 added. (PNA)
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