ORMOC CITY—It was a day of jubilation and relief for nine agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) after confronting 20 long years of struggle to finally till the land awarded to them by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
This came after the DAR has finally succeeded in installing them to three landholdings previously owned by Rustico Capahi.
“Nalipay lang ko nga makabalik ko sa akong gitrabaho nga yuta.” (I’m just happy to be back to the lot I was tilling.)
These were the words uttered by 66-year old farmer Clemente Arnaiz, as he broke into tears when the writ of execution was read to them by Sheriff Joseph Catingub on April 24.
The writ of execution issued by Leyte Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Renato Badilla is a legal document that ordered the installation of the nine ARBs to the landholdings that were awarded to them under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
DAR Regional Director Sheila Enciso said Arnaiz, together with the eight other ARBs received their certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) two decades ago but were deprived of entry by the previous landowner. Enciso said they were farmworkers in said landholdings.
“Through the years, we have made several attempts to install them but failed because of the persistent resistance of the landowner to follow the CARP,” said Enciso.
On April 24, with the support of KAISAHAN, a non-government organization assisting the farmers, the 20 years of waiting ended when the nine ARBs were finally installed peacefully into their awarded lots.
Enciso, assisted by Badilla, led the physical installation of the ARBs to the three Capahi-landholdings situated in Barangay Sabang Bao in this city following an agreement reached between the DAR management and the previous landowner.
According to Enciso, the landowner asked the DAR management to allow them to choose their retention area as stated under the law, among others.
Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer Perpetua Sabaldan, who took charge of the installation activities, disclosed that another 26 actual tillers in the three landholdings, with an aggregate area of 16 hectares, were likewise identified as potential beneficiaries.
Sabaldan likewise disclosed that in September last year, 39 other ARBs were also installed into eight landholdings situated in Barangay Balion with a combined area of 36.8 hectares. The properties were also owned by the Capahis.
This season, Enciso told the farmers, “You can already start tilling your respective areas,” but reminded them not to forget their obligations to pay the tax as the owners now of the land. (JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA, Information Officer)