RODRIGUEZ, Rizal: After 27 years of waiting, 153 landless farmers in this province finally had their wish granted by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) — the land titles that grants them ownership to the piece of land that they have been tilling for so long.
Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, who led the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs), said the land distributed to the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) has a total land area of 74 hectares.
“The distribution of these land titles is part of the continuing efforts of the agency to free the farmers from the bondage of tenancy, landlessness and poverty,” Castriciones said.
“Ito ang araw na dapat tayo ay maging masaya sapagkat matatanggap na ninyo ang inyong mga CLOA na matagal ninyong hinintay. Iyan ang magpapatunay na kayo ay tunay na mga Pilipino at tunay na nagmamay-ari na ng lupa (This is the day that all of you should be joyful because all of you are receiving the CLOA that all of you have been waiting for. This is proof that you are true Filipinos and owner of the lands you till),” Castriciones said to the farmers.
Castriciones said that the department encountered difficulties with the owners of the landholdings from 1993 up to 2020.
“We have encountered problems but with diligence and perseverance, we have fulfilled our mandate and were able to finally award the CLOAs to deserving agrarian reform beneficiaries,” Castriciones said.
“The good news is, we have streamlined the processes in acquiring agricultural lands, so that farmers will not wait 27 years to be awarded with CLOAs,” Castriciones added.
Virginia Castro, an 87-year old farmer, and his spouse 92-year-old Arturo, from Barangay Macabud, was overwhelmed with joy after receiving their long-awaited CLOA from the Secretary right in their own home.
Another farmer from Macabud, 73-year-old Juan Guilalas and his wife Lourdes, were surprised when the Secretary personally handed them their land title right at their doorstep.
Guilalas, a rice and fruit farmer, has been tilling the land for more than 50 years.
“Ngayong sa amin na ang lupa, magagawa ko na ang lahat ng aking plano upang mapagyaman ito. Ako na ang magdedesisyon sa lahat ng nais kong itanim (Now that the land we are farming is ours, we can do what we plan to make it properous. Now I can make decisions on what to plant in my land),” Guilalas said.
Farmers Castro and Guilalas were among the 153 new landowners awarded with CLOA by the Agrarian Reform Secretary. The rest of the CLOA recipients received their land titles in a distribution ceremony held at the Barangay Hall compound of Barangay Macabud, Rodrigue, Rizal.