BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Some 150 farmers from the town of La Castellana in Negros Occidental are set to own the lands that they are tilling, under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program of the government.
The farmers already took their oaths before Municipal Trial Court Judge Joseph Gedeoni Valencia and signed the application to purchase and farmer’s undertaking on Monday.
Majority of the farmers will become owners of the 118.1437 hectares of landholdings formerly owned by the Angela Estate Inc. in Barangay Robles.
The 25 others are applying to avail of the landholdings formerly owned by the Tipolo Cattle Farms and Planters Product in Barangay Sag-ang, while the rest will divide the 12.08 hectares of the landholdings used to be owned by Anastacio Deles in Barangay Cabacungan.
Valencia encouraged the farmers to work hard and make their lands more productive. He also warned them not to engage in illegal activities, such as selling or leasing their lands.
He said illegal activities like these are grounds for disqualification from the CARP coverage.
Municipal Agrarian Reform Program officer Rhoda Jugos said the farmers participated in the oath-taking ceremony after their screening and being selected as qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries, as stated in the master list signed and approved by the designated provincial agrarian reform officer.
She said the activity aimed to affirm the application of the ARBs and to ensure their compliance with all agrarian laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to the productivity of the land and their obligation on the payment of amortization and real property tax.
Jugos added that it is one of the preliminary activities of the DAR to acquire lands under CARP, that mandates the redistribution of government and private agricultural lands to landless farmers and farm workers to ensure the farmers’ land security and social equity. The DAR was able to distribute 1,131 hectares of lands in Negros Occidental last year.*