CALUBIAN, Leyte – Thirty-one agricultural tenants in an hacienda here received an early Christmas gift from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) when their individual land titles were handed to them making them now owners of the land they are tilling.
Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Maximo Castañeda Jr. distributed the 31 individual Certificates of Land ownership Award (CLOAs) to the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in a simple ceremony in Barangay Enage where the subject landholding is situated on Dec.9. Castañeda disclosed that the CLOAs covered a combined area of 39.9546 hectares.
He further disclosed that the awarded lots are part of the 58-hectare hacienda owned by Caridad Enage covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program’s (CARP’s) Land Acquisition and Distribution component.
Widower Romeo Cuizon, 67, received the maximum three hectares an ARB could avail.
Cuizon shared that he started working in the said hacienda when he was only 15 years old helping his tenant-father until he himself became one of the tenants too.
According to him, “As gratitude for this blessing, I will donate 2,000 square-meter for our association’s office/hall.”
Presently the Enage Agrarian Reform Farmer Beneficiaries Association’s (EARFBA’s) center stands temporarily in a private lot which can be evicted anytime.
Edgardo Juntilla, 56, recipient of a 1.1812-hectare lot, shared that “I am happy, and I am aware of my obligation to pay tax.”
Widow, Maria Maloloy-on, 50, a mother of three and one of the six female- beneficiaries said that she became tenant of Enage in 1989, when she and her husband started working in the hacienda.
According to her, they did not believe when someone from DAR told them that they would soon own the lot they were tilling. “I was surprised when I was awarded with 1.0912 hectares,” Maloloy-on added.
It was learned from Castañeda that 10 of the 31 ARBs are former rebels. Providing land to the landless gives these former rebels the opportunity to livelihood, which is DAR’s contribution to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC), a whole-of-nation approach to address insurgency in our country, said Castañeda.
The beneficiaries applauded when Castañeda announced that per Executive Order No. 4 of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., payment of their land amortizations is suspended for one year.
They also cheered lauder when Castañeda disclosed that there is a priority bill of the Marcos Administration which, when approved, ARBs will no longer pay amortizations.
(JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA/PR)