A TOTAL of 51 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in EB Magalona and Manapla town in Negros Occidental are now land owners after they received their certificates of land ownership award (Cloas) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently.

In EB Magalona town, 36 farmer-beneficiaries received their owner’s duplicate copy (ODC) of Cloas from the agency.

Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer Teodoro Che Salido, who led the activity at Barangay Alacaygan Covered Court, told the farmers to “take good care of it [land], make good use of the land, and bear good harvests until the next generations to come.”

“In your hands are not just papers. Those are proof that you now own the land that you cultivate. The process of land acquisition and distribution is tedious and the personnel of the department work tirelessly days and nights verifying and identifying its rightful owners -- you, our farmer-beneficiaries,” he said.

The 13.3-hectare property previously owned by Evelio Javelosa, Lorenzo Dollar III and Lorenzo Dollar Jr. is situated in Barangay Alacaygan in the northern Negros Occidental locality.

In Manapla, 15 ARBs were installed as new property owners of the seven-hectare agricultural land.

The property with a total area of 7.4480 hectares is located in the town’s Barangay 1-A. It was previously owned by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC).

Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer Anna Roberta Bayon-on also urged ARBs to value the land they received by avoiding illegal transactions like leasing.

“Also, be responsible taxpayers and pay your amortization dues on time,” she told the farmer-beneficiaries.

The DAR, through land acquisition and distribution under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (Carper), distributed the land to the ARBs.

In its mandate, 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.

“Such continuous field activities conducted by the DAR are evidence that despite the inconveniences brought by the pandemic, the service for the Filipino people continues,” the agency said.