A total of 184 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) received certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) comprising 195.89 hectares of government-owned lands (GOLs) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Carmen, North Cotabato.
Fulgencio Gepiala, 82, one of the land recipients from Purok 8, Aroman, said the land he received inspired him to continuously cultivate the land and make it productive for his children and grandchildren.
“My determination to plant corn, banana, and coconut has been revitalized. I’m happy and thankful to the DAR for giving me a piece of land, where we could have an additional source of income,” he said.
The distribution of public lands is in line with the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., to DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella III, to expedite and provide idle government-owned agricultural lands to landless farmers.
The lands that were given to the ARBs are portions of the GOLs that were already not used for their intended purpose in compliance with Executive Order No. 75, series of 2019. The said EO mandates all government offices to distribute public lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture for distribution to qualified beneficiaries.
Mariannie Lauban-Baunto, Soccsksargen Regional Director said the DAR distributed the unutilized lands of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI)-XII Aroman Research and Experiment Station, where a portion of the area was also used by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) situated at Aroman, Carmen, North Cotabato.
“These unused 64.2271 hectares of BPI and 131.5286 hectares of PCA will be a big help to uplift the lives of many farmers,” Baunto said.
Congresswoman Ma. Alana Samantha Taliño Santos, from the 3rd District of Cotabato, recognized the perseverance and efforts of DAR and other partners in the government to distribute these lands to the beneficiaries.
“The value of our land increases over time if we cultivate it with sweat and hard work. We just have to unite, work together, and help one another to do better and be better for our municipality and our province,” Santos said.