“After 27 long years,” the Department of Agrarian Reform has finally distributed 81.85-hectares of agricultural lots in Pili, Camarines Sur, to 149 farmer-beneficiaries as their rightful owners.
The farmers have now taken possession of the land in Barangay Cadlan after a lifelong administrative and judicial fight with its owner, the Manubay Agro-Industrial and Development Corp., according to Camarines Sur II agrarian reform chief Maria Gracia Sales.
“The final step in the land acquisition and distribution process is the installation of these agrarian reform beneficiaries on their Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-awarded lands,” she said.
She said the land tenure services personnel at the provincial and municipal levels worked tirelessly for the past 27 years to bring the activity to a successful conclusion.
Under the government’s agrarian reform law, DAR is mandated to acquire public and private agricultural lands and distribute them to tenants, farmers, farmworkers or other tillers who could meet the qualifications to become beneficiaries.
In 1994, DAR acquired the land under the CARP but pending cases and the strong resistance of landowners contributed to the sluggish processes.
“I am extremely proud of all of our employees, including the Philippine National Police officers, ARB leaders and barangay officials who selflessly assisted in the execution of this important activity. I hope that these ARBs will become responsible stewards of the lands that have been entrusted to them. I hope that they take good care of their lands and keep them productive,” Sales said.
John Belleza, a sheriff, said there was a strong opposition from the landowners despite the writ of Installation issued by the provincial agrarian reform adjudication board.
“Fear is a natural reaction in high-risk situations like this. However, I feel it is my moral responsibility to ensure that justice is done to the farmer-beneficiaries,” he said.