Leyte farmers secure lands they’ve tilled for decades

CARIGARA, LEYTE – Four years after super typhoon Yolanda battered Tacloban City and most parts of Leyte province, 921 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in the area were finally awarded with their Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) in a turn-over ceremony held in this town on December 8.

Agrarian reform undersecretary Karlo Bello, together with Director Leomides Villareal of the Public Assistance and Media Relations Service of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Region 8, OIC Regional Director Maria Fe Malinao, and Leyte OIC Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Renato Badilla led the CLOA distribution that covered 941 hectares in the municipalities of Barugo, Jaro and San Miguel in Leyte.

Bello recognized the efforts of the DAR officials and employees in Region 8 for the realization of the aspirations of the farmers in the area to own the land that they have tilled for years.

He also encouraged the ARBs to strengthen their organizations for the provision of the support programs and services and reminded them not to sell, transfer or lease the lands awarded to them.

Bello said President Duterte has mandated the DAR to fast-track the distribution of lands and the delivery of support services.

DAR has intensified the CLOA distribution and the provision of support services to ARBs in the country to support the thrust of the Duterte administration to free the farmers from tenancy and emancipate them from poverty.

Dulcesimo Sotto, 84, together with his wife, Soledad, 82, and residents of Barangay Bahay, San Miguel were among the ARBs present during the distribution ceremony. They expressed gratitude to the Duterte administration for the release of their titles.

Sotto has been farming since 1948, the only work and source of income that has support his family.

Another beneficiary, Juanita Colango, 87, from Brangay Macanip, Jaro, was one of the oldest recipients during the CLOA distribution.

“I cannot describe what I am feeling right now,” Colango said.

Villareal urged the ARBs not to waste the opportunity of owning the land they have worked on for a lifetime.

He said that the President wanted to give dignity to them by making them real land owners.

Data provided by DAR Director Malinao revealed that 132 ARBs from the town of Barugo received their CLOAs, covering 80.8364  hectares; 226 ARBs with 237.6131 hectares from Jaro; and 563 ARBs with 623.1346 hectares from San Miguel.

Leo Pruel, who represented the local government unit of Cariraga, congratulated the farmers and hoped that they would make their lands even more productive. 

Photo: Eighty-four-year-old Dulcesimo Sotto and his wife, Soledad, beam with their Certificate of Land Ownership Award last December 8 in Cariraga, Leyte.