Issue of November 12, 2017
Mt. Province

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DAR official reminds farmers on prohibitions in lot award
by Ofelia C. Empian

EMPOWERING LAND OWNERS -- Department of Agrarian Reform Sec. Rosalina Bistoyong and Benguet Gov. Crescencio Pacalso spearhead the turnover of completed support services projects to various organizations in Benguet during the two-day land distribution activity of the agency last week. A total of 1,819 Certificate of Land Ownership Award or CLOA were also awarded to various beneficiaries in the region. -- Ofelia Empian

As a means of strengthening the agriculture sector in the country, the Department of Agrarian Reform urged Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) recipients to make their lands productive and not to lease it.

DAR Sec. Rosalina Bistoyong made the call during the distribution of 1,819 CLOAs covering 937 hectares to farmers in the region last week.

Bistoyong enjoined the recipients to value their lands and cultivate so that they can profit from it.

Aside from the distribution of CLOAs, completed support services and projects were also turned over  to chosen assisted agrarian reform beneficiary organizations in Benguet.

The DAR secretary said the agency provided 1,652 projects and services to beneficiaries, who would now be helped in cultivating their lands.

“We are strengthening our assisted agrarian reform beneficiaries so they can cultivate and be engaged in their own farms,” Bistoyong said.

She acknowledged the challenges faced by the agency, such as the issue on ariendo or the system of leasing the land to other individuals or groups.

“The main objective of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program is to make farmers the owners of the land. They should be producing and  totally in charge of the land in its management,” Bistoyong said. 

She said one of the sanctions for those doing ariendo is perpetual disqualification.

She, however. said this practice remains a challenge because even politicians are involved in the system.

First we are giving them support in return. The farmers really need to exert effort on the awarded land, hindi po dapat ‘yan inaariendo. When they lease back the land it will only give them a small amount of money,” she said.

“Hacienda Luisita for instance, is about 7,000 per hectare per year, if they are going to cultivate that one hectare they are not just going to get 7,000 per hectare but going to get more of that,” she added.

The agency encourages farmers to make their lands productive so they can earn much. 

She reminded the beneficiaries of the 10-year prohibitive period for all CLOA recipients.

After the 10-year period, if the land is going to be sold, it should be to the next of kin or to other relatives who will continue to cultivate the land.

“Our perspective in CARP is perpetual cultivating of the land because we’re looking at the agrarian reform beneficiaries as farmers,” she said.

She added that DAR also encourages the children of farmer beneficiaries to help in farming their lands. She said they are eyeing to revive the scholarship program for children of the farmers in partnership with other agencies.

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