GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Around 3,500 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from Region 12 (Soccsksargen) have received their Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in a series of distribution activities in the last two days.
DAR Secretary John Castriciones and other top officials led the release of the CLOAs and the turnover of millions worth of support projects in a visit to various communities here and in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
The agency distributed a total of 2,921 certificates to 3,541 ARBs, with 1,389 coming from South Cotabato, 1,313 from Sultan Kudarat, 535 from Sarangani, and 304 from North Cotabato province.
Castriciones, who is on a three-day swing in the region, said the CLOAs covered some 6,519 hectares of land covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
He said they are currently fast-tracking the processing of the certificates for the eligible lands and their awarding to qualified beneficiaries in the region.
The official said they are continually addressing the backlogs in their distribution and resolving the pending cases.
“Our field offices are doing their best to really deliver,” he said in a press conference in Koronadal City on Wednesday.
In the entire country, he said around 523,000 hectares of land were issued with notices of coverage before 2014, with over 100,000 hectares under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
More than 350,000 hectares are considered problematic, specifically with pending cases in the courts and concerned offices, leaving them with over 90,000 hectares to distribute.
“Despite the fact that we are already approaching the so-called end of the CARP, we are still able to deliver a lot of land coverages,” Castriciones said.
Aside from the CLOA distribution, Castriciones led the turnover of some PHP63.4 million worth of support services such as hauling trucks, agricultural inputs, office equipment, mobile rice miller, farm-to-market roads to ARB cooperatives and farmers’ groups in the region.
On Tuesday, the agency delivered some PHP16 million worth of farm machinery and equipment, and turned over a PHP11.4 million bridge project in Barangay San Jose here implemented under the Tulay ng Pangulo program,
The beneficiaries, composed of seven cooperatives, each received a hauling truck, agricultural inputs and office equipment under the DAR Italian Assistance to Agrarian Reform Community Development Support Program. (with report from Allen V. Estabillo/PNA)