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Never too late for a nonagenarian to be agrarian beneficiary

Ninety-two years old agrarian reform beneficiary Lino Malasaga (in dark glasses) from Maasin, Southern Leyte during the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) at the Leyte Progressive High School gymnasium in Tacloban City.

August 5, 2023

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte – Nonagenarian farmer, Lino Malasaga, who lives in Barangay Hantag, an upland village in this southernmost city in Eastern Visayas, still cannot believe that the land he had been tilling for decades is already registered in his name.

At 92 years old, Malasaga was the oldest recipient in Region 8 of individual land titles handed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) during the simultaneous distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) nationwide on July 7 this year.

Malasaga was one of the nine agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from this city who received individual CLOAs from DAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director, Robert Anthony Yu, at the Leyte Progressive High School in Tacloban City.

Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Vissa Arnela Villa disclosed that Malasaga was awarded with 1.2212 hectares, which is part of the 6.4171-hectare abaca farm situated in adjacent village, Malapoc Sur, once covered by a collective CLOA.

When visited last week by Villa to facilitate the issuance of tax declarations to the ARBs as the new owners of the lands awarded under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), Malasaga said that he never expected that he will ever get hold of a land title in his name to the land he had been tilling.

He thanked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III for the free land title, which according to him, “We did not spend a single centavo.”

He also expressed his gratitude to Villa and her staff for the help they had extended to them.

With his memory still sharp, Malasaga shared, “I started working on that land when I was only 12 years old.”

“As the eldest, I shouldered the responsibility of my father when he died. I worked hard on that land to feed my mother and my other siblings. That is why I was not able to go to school,” Malasaga reminisced.

Now a widower, Malasaga is advised by his children to rest from his farming activities and just entrust everything to them.