Zamboanga City -- Agrarian Reform Secretary John R. Castriciones advised new landowners to be members of cooperatives or Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBO) to receive more government assistance.
Farmer Beneficiaries with DAR officials and representatives from CARP-Implementing agencies.
This he said in front of 1,006 farmers from the Zamboanga region, who received Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) in a ceremony held Friday, October 26, 2018, at the Centro Pastoral Complex, Gov. Camins, Zamboanga City.
“Mag-miyembro po kayo ng ARBOs sapagkat dito po dadaloy ang mga proyekto at suporta para sa mga magsasaka (Join ARBOs because this is where we channel support for farmer beneficiaries),” Castriciones said.
Castriciones who led the distribution of CLOAs explained that the work of the DAR does not end in the distribution of lands alone. The agency also provides support services to enable farmer beneficiaries to manage their lands better.
“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) at nagawan nila ng paraan ang pamamahagi ng lupa sa amin (I am thankful to the DAR for finding ways to distribute the land to us),” said 68-year-old farmer Cesario Cielo.
Cielo waited for 24 years to receive 2.8 hectares of agricultural land located in Barangay Sta. Clara, Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay.
“Nagkaroon po kasi ng kaso kaya tumagal pero okay na (Some disputes caused the delay but they were finally resolved),” Cielo explained.
He plans to continue planting fruit trees such as lanzones and mangosteen through the help of DAR’s support services in their area such as farm to market roads and farm facilities.
He said that with these programs and projects, the farmer beneficiaries are assured of a brighter future ahead of them. They just need to capacitate themselves, work harder, and make their lands productive for the future generations.
Farmer beneficiaries were also informed by Castriciones that the Land Bank of the Philippines offers an Accessible and Sustainable Lending Program (ASLP) where farmers can loan up to 50,000 pesos to buy farm inputs. Annual interest of the loan is only at 6%.
However, Castriciones warned the farmer beneficiaries not to sell or mortgage the lands awarded by the government or risk losing the land being charged according to law.
From 1972 to June 2018, around 2.849 million agrarian reform beneficiaries have received their own lands to till covering a total area of about 4.865 million hectares of agricultural lands. There remains 561,000 hectares of private agricultural lands and 260,000 hectares government owned lands for distribution.
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