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E. Visayas ARBs grateful over signing of new agrarian law

Jovita Mabalo of Pinabacdao, Samar receives her individual certificate of land ownership award (CLOA) as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signs the New Agrarian Emancipation Act, freeing agrarian reform beneficiaries from debt burden incurred from land amortization.

July 25, 2023

TACLOBAN CITY – “Masayang-masaya!” was Jovita Mabalo’s fast reply when asked how she felt during Friday, July 7’s twin event, the signing of the New Agrarian Emancipation Act by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Malacañang and the simultaneous distribution of individual land titles nationwide.

Mabalo, 58 and a mother of nine, was among the more than 32 thousand Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) nationwide announced by Agrarian Reform Secretary, Conrado Estrella III, who were to receive their individual electronically-generated Certificates of Land Ownership Award (e-CLOA) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on that day.

A recipient of a 2.5-hectare farmland in Barangay Laygayon, Pinabacdao, Samar, Mabalo expressed her gratitude to President Marcos and to the DAR management when asked to deliver a response.

Making sure that she won’t forget what she will say on stage, Mabalo wrote down her thoughts and read them.

“Salamat DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella III sa ibinigay na titulo sa lupa na aming sinasaka. At ang pinakaimportante sa lahat, salamat Pangulong Marcos dahil wala na kaming babayaran sa Land Bank sa lupa namin na ibinigay ng DAR,” said Mabalo, who used to be a tenant of the Labagalas. She shared that farming is their only livelihood.

Republic Act 11953 or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act freed ARBs from debts incurred from amortization of lands awarded under Presidential Decree 27 and Republic Acts 6657 and 9700.

The President in his message said, “Our beneficiaries deserve nothing less.”

He stressed, “Free land distribution must go hand in hand with broadening the provision of credit facilities and support services in the form of farm inputs, equipment and facilities to our farmers as well as the construction of farm-to-market roads.”

He also urged DAR to expedite the individual titling of lands covered by collective CLOAs to secure the tenurial rights of the ARBs.

Meanwhile, with the simultaneous distribution nationwide of e-titles generated under the World Bank-funded Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) project, the DAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director, Atty. Robert Anthony Yu, disclosed that 2,641 e-titles covering an aggregate area of 3,961.5 hectares were supposed to be distributed to 2,118 ARBs from all over Region 8. However, Yu explained that only 1,316 ARBs were able attend the distribution rite held at the Leyte Progressive High School gymnasium in Tacloban City.

Yu also stressed that freeing farmers from the bondage of agricultural tenancy and the burden of land amortization borne by the ARBs will greatly contribute to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC), a whole-of-nation approach in attaining sustainable peace in the country.