DAR chief to CARP implementers inBicol: 'Do your utmost best to hasten land acquisition, distribut

By Connie Calipay


LEGAZPI CITY --- Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones reminded all Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) implementers in the region to do their utmost best to hasten the land acquisition and distribution process for agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB).


The DAR chief made the reminder during his two-day visit in Camarines Sur (Tuesday-Wednesday) for the distribution of 379 land titles to 231 ARBs.


Castriciones expressed his joy as he was distributing land titles to farmer-beneficiaries Tuesday in Caramoan, Camarines Sur, but also lamented the condition they are currently in as he saw many of them are already past their prime to till their newly acquired farm lots.


On Tuesday (May 18), Castriciones, with Undersecretaries Emily Padilla and Virginia Orogo, hand over in Barangay Gogon, Lahuy island, in Caramoan townland titles to 124 farmers who are tillers of 331.4913 hectares of Agri lands through the agency's Serbisyong DAR-to-Door program.


On Wednesday, Castriciones distribute 255 certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) covering a total area of 333.7361 hectares to 107 farmers at the Provincial Capitol Convention Center in Pili town.


Geri Buensalida, DAR-Bicol spokesperson, in an interview on Wednesday, said the chief could not hide his sadness as he saw some old faces among the farmer-beneficiaries, an indication that they had waited for too long before the day came when they finally received their most cherished dream – land titles.


“At your age today, some of you cannot do farming anymore, a reality that brings sadness to my heart, knowing that you waited for so long to own a piece of farm lot,” Castriciones said.


The DAR chief reminded CARP field implementers not to make the same mistakes of unjustly keeping the land titles as what a provincial agrarian reform office in the Visayas did to a total of 2,007 land titles, thus, depriving affected farmer-beneficiaries of tilling their farm lots during their prime.


He also reiterated the marching order of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte “to distribute all remaining agricultural lands on or before his term ends on June 30, 2022.”


Buensalida added that the chief and his deputies have been traveling by land, air, and sea to fulfill the task at hand notwithstanding the danger posed by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.


“We owe it to our farmer-beneficiaries to deliver what is due them so that they can do their part – keep food available on our table – especially at this time of the pandemic,” he said.


Meanwhile, Dominador Fernando Sr., 74 years old, a farmer-beneficiary from Barangay Gogon in Caramaoan town in Camarines Sur expressed his gratitude to DAR chief Castriciones as he received the land titles of the land he was tilting for so long.


Fernando also added he is very happy that his family will have something that will inherit as time goes on.


"Despite the difficulty, the good secretary was able to visit us and able to award the titles that we are waiting for so long, thank you very much," he added.