MANILA – Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones is pushing for the inclusion of rebel-returnees as among the beneficiaries of the country’s land reform program.
“This is the legacy that President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to leave behind — the advancement of a long-lasting peace and order in the countryside,” Castriciones said on Wednesday.
DAR records show that there are still more than 500,000 hectares of agricultural lands under Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law and another 230,000 hectares of government-owned lands devoted or suitable for agriculture under Executive Order No. 75 of 2019 that are up for distribution.
Last March 19, DAR handed over the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to farmer-beneficiaries in Eastern Visayas.
The CLOAs were received by 1,299 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) for 1,455 hectares of farmland in Leyte; 12 ARBs for nine hectares in Southern Leyte; 225 ARBs for 417.6 hectares in Northern Samar; 151 ARBs for 315.75 hectares in Western Samar; and 78 ARBs for 138 hectares in Eastern Samar in a ceremony held at the Leyte Normal University in Tacloban City, Leyte.
Earlier, 91.6 hectares of government-owned land in Barangay Daja Daku in San Isidro, Leyte were turned over by the Leyte provincial government to the DAR for distribution to 458 beneficiaries, 262 of them were rebel-returnees, following the signing of the “Deed of Transfer” between Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla and the DAR chief held at the Oriental Hotel also in Tacloban City.
Next month, another group of rebel-returnees in Nueva Vizcaya will be given their shares of farm lots to indicate that the government is serious about winning the sympathy of landless farmers and bringing back the rebels to the fold of the law. (PNA)