By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has started the validation of the status of emancipation patents (EP) and certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) in Toledo City in Cebu province.
The activity was conducted by a team from the DAR-Office of the Undersecretary for Special Concerns in 29 barangays of Toledo City.
Undersecretary for Special Concerns Carim Panumpang said DAR Secretary John Castriciones has ordered the checking of the status of the awarded lands to determine if they are still under the possession of those awarded by the agency and to make a list of the agri-business venture agreements entered by the agrarian reform beneficiaries organization.
Panumpang said there have been information from several congressional hearings and other reports that there are numerous awarded land that are no longer actually tilled, cultivated, or occupied by the registered agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
“Reports showed that non-ARBs are in actual possession due to illegal sales, transfers or conveyances within the 10 year non-transferability period in violation of Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6657, as amended (M.C. NO. 333, series of 2018),” Panumpang said.
“Based from the pilot validation activities conducted by the Office of the Undersecretary for Special Concerns in Calabarzon and Northern Mindanao regions, there are findings of numerous awarded lands which are not properly cultivated, if not abandoned, by the ARBs and considerable number of awarded lands were already conveyed or transferred by the ARBs without the necessary DAR clearance,” said Abdullah Linog, team leader of the validation team.
DAR will be adopting a system of monitoring the records or performance of each beneficiary, as any beneficiary guilty of negligence or misuse of the land or any support extended to him will forfeit his right to continue as beneficiary.
Based on DAR’s data, 4.8 million hectares of agricultural land has been distributed to 2.8 million ARBs. The data will be reconciled with the actual data in the field in order to have a definite figure.
The team is also set to conduct validation in other regions.