but this agrarian reform beneficiaries are still happy as
they savor their first harvest in the sugarland awarded to
them 21 years ago.
beneficiaries savor first harvest
JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
March 8, 2018
ORMOC CITY – Tired
but obviously happy was how the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs)
in Barangay Sumanga looked on Tuesday as they savor their first
harvest of sugarcane within the 17.5-hectare land awarded to them
under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) 21 years ago.
“Masaya kami dahil may
income na kami. May pambayad na sa lupa, at matutupad na ang
pangarap ng anak ko na makapagtapos ng pag-aaral.” (We are happy
because we now have income. We can now pay land amortization, and my
child’s dream to get a college degree will already be realized.)
These were the words of Pablo Silva, 55, one of the 24 ARBs and
president of the Sumanga United Farmers Association (SUFA) during
Municipal Agrarian Reform
Program Officer (MARPO) Perpetua Sabaldan who takes charge of
installation activities in Leyte, explained that the 17.5 hectares
are just part of the 35-hectare property previously owned by the
Potenciano and Anecita Larrazabal Enterprises Corporation (PALEC)
that was awarded to SUFA.
According to her, 12
hectares of which were planted to root crops by the ARBs.
Their journey as ARBs was
not smooth. They were blocked from entering the property by the
previous landowner who resisted coverage of the lot under CARP.
Pablo and the 23 other
ARBs waited for 19 years to be installed in their awarded land, and
two more years before they were able to harvest in the land that was
already theirs 21 years ago.
He narrated that after
several attempts, they were successfully installed on June 20, 2016
with the combined efforts of officials from the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR); KAISAHAN, a non-government organization
assisting them; and the Philippine National Police.
But the previous landowner
bargained during the dialogue to allow them to harvest first the
existing crop for they were the ones who planted them. After the
harvest, the previous landowner surrendered the land to the ARBs as
promised during the said dialogue.
Pablo shared that during
Tuesday’s harvest they are expecting about 15 truckloads of freshly
harvested sugarcane with an estimated net income of P14,000 for
As it takes about 12
months for this crop before it could be harvested, the ARBs had to
wait until the current year to experience the complete success of
However, Wowie Silva, 21,
who helps his father, Pablo, in farming said it could have been
better if the trucks that would transport the harvested sugarcane to
the sugar central can enter the area for fast and easy hauling.
Wowie disclosed that
trucks can no longer enter their area because the road leading here
is privately owned by the previous landowner and the latter dug a
big hole along the way preventing trucks from passing by.
Because of this according
to him, the men have to carry on their shoulders the harvested
sugarcane for a distance of about a kilometer where trucks can wait.
Though this is no longer a
big deal to Pablo, still he appeals to concerned sectors to help
them have an access road.