HILONGOS, Leyte – On International Women’s Day, a female-dominated agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO) in a remote village in this town thanked the newly-assigned Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) for helping them obtain legal documents that would strengthen their claim as legitimate owners over two lots they acquired.

Newly-assigned Hilongos, Leyte Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Ruben Rebato visits the female-dominated Barangay Agutayan Farmers Association in the mountain village of Agutayan on International Women’s Day.

The 272 members of the Barangay Agutayan Farmers Association (BAFA), including the 63 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), where 165 of them are women, learned that the properties they have acquired for several years now could be taken back from them because they do not have the legal documents to prove ownership. This was discovered when MARPO Ruben Rebato visited them in the mountain village of Agutayan on March 8 this year, as the whole world paid tribute to women around the globe.

Vermicast production is one of the livelihood activities of the female-dominated Barangay Agutayan Farmers Association in Hilongos, Leyte (DARMO-Hilongos)

While checking the documents, Rebato found out that although BAFA was progressing as an organization with assets now reaching P4.5-million, legal documents that would prove ownership over a lot they had purchased and another one donated to them, were missing.
BAFA lady-president, Vicenta Jaray, even hinted Rebato that the heirs of the previous owner who donated the lot where their organization’s building was constructed, are allegedly planning to take the property back from them.

Rebato, who used to be a legal officer, is now helping the BAFA officers obtain the “Extrajudicial Settlement with Deed of Sale” for the lot they had purchased and “Deed of Transfer” for the donated lot, to secure their claims of ownership over these lands.
Further, Rebato promised to guide them in preparing business contracts for the organization’s various business ventures, which include vermicast production.
Happy with the turnout of their first meeting with Rebato, Jaray said, “Sana di po muna kayo matransfer, sir.”

Lawyering (or PBD lawyering), according to Program Beneficiaries Development (PBD) Chief, Melecia Ong, is one of the assistances being extended by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to ARBs and ARBOs to make their activities and assets legitimate, among others. (JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA/PR)