SIXTY-ONE agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Escalante City have received their certificates of land ownership award (Cloas) for a total of 8.4013-hectare land from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

Mayor Melecio Yap Jr., who spoke at the distribution rites in Barangay Jonob-jonob in the northern Negros Occidental locality recently, encouraged the farmer-beneficiaries to form themselves as an association or cooperative.

"The City Government is more than willing to help and extend support to you," he told the ARBs.

Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer Maricel Seduco, who was also present at the activity, explained to the farmers the processes conducted for the acquisition of the land.

As she congratulated the new land owners, Seduco said they hoped the farmer-beneficiaries will reap good harvests.

"Use the land wisely for the betterment of your lives," the official told the ARBs.

The property was formerly managed by Mercedes Alemany located in the barangay.

Through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp), public and private agricultural landholdings are acquired by the government to be distributed to tenants, farmers, farmworkers and other tillers who are qualified to become ARBs.

This is in the form of Cloas covering one contiguous tract or several parcels of land accumulated up to a maximum of three hectares per ARB.

DAR-Negros Occidental, in a statement, said the activity is anchored to the agency's aim to provide lands to landless farmers and farmworkers, guarantee land security, deliver social equity, and provide them with the necessary productive and emergency resources to ensure economic viability and productivity.

As the province remains under Alert Level 2 status in terms of Covid-19 transmission, the distribution rites complied with the minimum health protocols set by authorities, it added. (With PR)