The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is aiming to distribute at least 12,000 hectares of acquired land in Negros Occidental for 2019.
Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, who assisted President Rodrigo Duterte in the distribution of 3,423 certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to 2,495 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in the province on Friday, said Negros Occidental still has 98,000 hectares of distributable land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
“This is the highest (in the country). The number one province for land acquisition and distribution is Negros Occidental,” the DAR chief said.
On Friday, the distributed acquired lands came from 141 landowners in eight cities and 11 municipalities in both the northern and southern parts of the province.
“Dito po kami magbibigay ng importansiya para po ang mga magsasaka natin ay makinabang (We will prioritize this province so that our farmers will benefit from the program),” Castriciones said.
He added that the DAR-6 (Western Visayas), headed by Regional Director Stephen Leonidas, will work closely with local government units to help the farmer-beneficiaries.
Before the President’s arrival in Sagay Friday, Castriciones signed two separate agreements with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Together with the PCIC, the DAR will implement the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries-Agricultural Insurance Program (ARB-AIP) with a fund of PHP1billion for ARBs and their household members for fiscal year 2019.
Through the agreement with the DA, the ARBs can avail of agricultural loans from the initial fund of P10 million.
The DA, with the Agricultural and Fishery Council, also turned over a tractor unit to the LGEI Farmers Association Inc. based in Barangay Malubon, Cadiz City.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said it is a start of a bigger collaborative endeavor between the DA and the DAR.
“Whenever the DAR will distribute land titles, the DA will come in. We are filling a void. (This) calls for all support programs of the DA to be provided to the DAR, including roads, loans, livelihood, and irrigation, if needed,” Piñol added.* (Nanette Guadalquiver, NDB)