SAN ISIDRO, Leyte — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Eastern Visayas has started the process of identifying qualified recipients for more than 2,000-hectares in farm lots here which President Rodrigo Duterte wants to be distributed.
Farmers from Barangays Daja Daku and Taglawigan in this remote town flocked to a chapel in Barangay Daja Daku where registration was being conducted for those hoping to be agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB).
During his visit to this town on 23 January to distribute benefits to former rebels, President Duterte instructed DAR Secretary John Castriciones to distribute the land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program’s (CARP) land acquisition and distribution component to the former rebels so that they could have something to start their own livelihood.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Renato Badilla, who led in the identification process, disclosed that 273 potential applicants were registered during the said occasion, however, none among the 262 former rebels showed up at the designated venue.
Badilla explained that DAR will still screen qualified beneficiaries in which the results will be announced on a later date.
The properties to be given out are either owned by the Larrazabal family or part of a forfeited portion by the Leyte provincial government, formerly owned by the MRC Allied Industries Incorporated, which are within the declared special economic zones per Presidential Proclamation 247 issued by then President Joseph Estrada in 2000.
Jose Delis, 69, who worked as tenant for more than 20 years in Lot 1-B, expressed his excitement to know that he could own the land he is tilling.
“We are thankful that you are helping us,” Delis said.
Badilla also promised to return to the area for the identification of the former rebels as potential ARB.
Regional Director Stephen Leonidas said that the forfeited land of the MRC Allied Industries Incorporated will be covered and distributed first under Executive Order 75, issued by President Duterte on 15 February 2019, directing DAR to acquire all government-owned agricultural lands for eventual distribution to qualified beneficiaries.