43 farmers in quake-hit village receive land titles

News and Press Release
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By Danilo E. Doguiles
Published on December 4, 2020

MAKILALA, Cotabato Province, Dec. 4 (PIA) -- Forty-three farmers in Barangay Luayon, this municipality, are now legal owners of the land they have tilled, some for decades already.

This after receiving their certificates of land ownership award (CLOA) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Thursday (December 3).

The land title distribution was one of the highlights of the Serbisyo Caravan in Luayon that also formally announced the inclusion of the community in the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP), a convergence initiative for the implementation President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's Executive Order No. 70 institutionalizing whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace and end local armed conflict.

Luayon is one of the communities hardest hit by the series of earthquakes that struck Cotabato and neighboring provinces in 2019.

Julie Garcia, municipal agrarian reform program officer, told Philippine Information Agency that the land titles given to the newest agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) comprised 56.4261 hectares.

"This has brought the total number of ARBs in Luayon to 303 individuals with a total landholding of 1,012.5854 hectares," MARPO Garcia said.

Garcia further explained that the land distribution in Luayon is part of the Sultan Kudarat Settlement Area 1 Phase 2 established under Presidential Proclamation No. 338 dated September 3, 1956.

"Being a settlement area, the landholdings are given free to farmer beneficiaries. Their only obligation is to pay real property taxes to the government," Garcia added.

Meanwhile, Joel Mendoza, president of the Luayon Farmers Association and chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture of the barangay council, said that being agrarian reform beneficiaries they have gained so much from the government.

"This year alone, we are so blessed to receive several farm machineries such as rice planters as well as farm tools and production inputs," Kagawad Mendoza said.

Before these, he added, the ARBO also got rice threshers and a multipurpose building with a corn mill. The corn mill was provided under the Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development (MinSAAD) Project.

The ARBO was also a recipient of potable water system under the PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Project.

"These only proves that the government is looking after its people, especially the farming sector. On our part, we make sure that the benefits that we receive from the government are enjoyed by every farmer in our community," Mendoza said.

At the Serbisyo Caravan on Thursday, the municipal government of Makilala, the provincial government of Cotabato, and regional line agencies brought in services for the people of Luayon.

Beside the distribution of CLOAs, other services include livelihood aids, health insurance, skills training, seedling and planting materials distribution, animal dispersal, supplemental feeding, family food packs, family planning, first aid orientation, haircut and nail care, and many others.

Regional line agencies also explained to the residents the services their respective offices offer and how the community can avail of these.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG 12) Regional Director Josephine Leysa and Cotabato Province Governor Nancy Catamco both emphasized that the Serbisyo Caravan is only the beginning of a more comprehensive delivery of services to Luayon as an RCSP-target barangay.

As an RCSP area, Luayon is eligible to receive P20 million development support package from the national government in 2021 to be appropriated on projects of their choice.

Regional line agencies and LGUs will also implement projects, programs and activities based on the barangay development plan.

In consultation with its constituents, the Barangay Council of Luayon, led by Punong Barangay Rable Ramirez, has identified the projects where the P20-M support fund will be spent on, namely farm-to-market road, day care center, and birthing home. (DED-PIA XII)