By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
A total of 545 farmers from seven municipalities in North Cotabato received their respective certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) over the weekend.
The event was part of a series of CLOA distribution facilitated by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) nationwide since the start of the year.
Data provided by DAR in North Cotabato indicate that a total of 849.2077 hectares of lands were covered during the distribution.
Of the total number of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), 110 received collective CLOAS while 435 received their respective individual CLOAS.
The data added that a total of 43 CLOAs were distributed to farmers during the ceremony in Arakan town, 97 CLOAs in Kidapawan City, 18 CLOAs in Magpet, 43 CLOAs in Mlang, 91 CLOAs in President Roxas, 16 CLOAs in Tulunan, and 237 in Makilala.
DAR Undersecretary Karlo Bello reiterated the mandate of President Duterte to help the farmers in the country emancipate themselves from poverty.
Bello also paid tribute to the efforts of DAR officials and employees in North Cotabato for the processing and the actual distribution of CLOAs to the beneficiaries.
Serving the farmers justice by installing them to the lands they till is a process of eliminating the feudal system of land ownership in the country, said DAR Public Assistance and Media Relations Service director Leonides Villareal.
Villareal appealed to the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) not to dispose the lands now they own by selling or leasing, instead urged them to make it productive.
DAR will also provide ARBs with support services in the form of farm-to-market roads, capital and other farm support, he added.