Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr  to continue distributing land titles to ARBs beyond his term

2024 May 24

OFFICIALLY OWNERS. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. personally distributes electronic titles and Certificates of Land Ownership Award to 4,271 agrarian reform beneficiaries at the South Cotabato gymnasium and Cultural Center in Koronadal City on Friday (May 24, 2024). In a media interview, Marcos vowed that he would not stop until all land titles are distributed during his term and beyond. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Office)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday vowed that he would not stop until all land titles are distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) during his term and even beyond.

“Tuluy-tuloy lang ang aming gagawing ito para matapos ito na lahat ng beneficiary na dapat nabigyan ng titulo ay mabigyan bago matapos ang aking term (We will continue what we are doing so that we could finish the distribution of titles to all beneficiaries before my term ends),” Marcos said on the sidelines of the land title distribution to farmers in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.

In case the target is not met, President Marcos said he has ensured the continuity of the government’s land reform program beyond his presidency.

“Talagang pipilitin natin. Siyempre ang ambisyon ko talaga matapos sa term ko. Pero hindi ito titigil hanggang talagang matapos lahat ng beneficiary na qualified, mabibigyan ng titulo . Kahit na wala na ako, titiyakin natin na patuloy pa rin ang programa na pagbigay ng titulo (We will strive to reach this. Of course, my ambition is to really complete this within my term. But we will not stop until every qualified beneficiary receives a title. Even if I’m not around, we will make sure that this program of distributing land titles continues),” he said.

 Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Conrado Estrella III said the agency will heed the President’s directive to speed up the distribution of land titles to ARBs and extend government services to farmers nationwide.

“Susundin namin lahat ng utos ng Presidente. At sa tingin ko dahil — iba ito. Kasi itong programang ito talagang nandiyan sa likod namin ng ating Pangulo. Kaya magagawa natin ‘to. Ma-i-di-distribute natin ‘to (We will follow the directive of the President. Because I think, this is different. We have the President backing us in this program. That’s why we can do this),” Estrella said.

President Marcos signed in July 2023 the New Agrarian Emancipation Act for the benefit of 610,000 Filipino farmers tilling more than 1.7 million hectares of agrarian reform lands.

The law makes the farmers debt-free from agrarian arears worth PHP57.65 million.

The President said almost 10,700 titles covering more than 18,000 hectares of land have already been distributed in Soccsksargen.

During the Friday distribution event in Koronadal City, a total of 3,167 electronic titles and 1,184 Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) were given to 4,271 ARBs in South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat.

Among the beneficiaries was Eliseo Tuscano, a 73-year-old native Matalam, Cotabato who waited for 25 years before he finally received his land title.

“Lubos po ang aking tuwa at kagalakan dahil sa wakas ay natanggap na namin ang titulo ng aming lupa (I am overjoyed and elated because finally we received the titles for our lands),” Tuscano said after President Marcos personally gave him the e-title.

“Malaking tulong po ito at kaginhawaan sa aming mga magsasaka dahil binura na ang aming pagkakautang sa Land Bank of the Philippines sa loob ng 30 taon. Agyaman kami, apo President Marcos (This will be of great help and relief for us farmers because it erased our debts owed to the Land Bank of the Philippines for a period of 30 years. Thank you, President Marcos),” the farmer added.

Tuscano told the President the government’s efforts to help farmers will not go to waste.

“Makaasa po kayo na ang bunga ng inyong pagsisikap na kami ay mahatiran ng kaukulang serbisyo ay susuklian namin ng ibayong pagsusumikap (Rest assured, we will repay your efforts in providing us service with hard work),” Tuscano told the President.

Another ARB, Nelson Ellano, 57, of Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat, received his land title after 28 years of waiting.

He was with Nicolas Soliman, 77, of Malungon, Sarangani who ended 22 years of waiting to get his land title.

Food security

Marcos, meanwhile, expressed hope that the distributed land titles would inspire farmer-beneficiaries and their children to continue helping the government maintain food security.

“Umaasa po ako na ang mga titulo o CLOA at tulong na aming pinagkakaloob ay magsisilbing inspirasyon sa inyong pagsasaka at sa paggaganap ninyo ng inyong mahahalagang tungkulin sa pagsiguro ng suplay ng pagkain para sa ating mga kababayan (I hope that these titles or CLOA and support we offer will serve as an inspiration for your farming and in fulfilling your essential role of ensuring sufficient food supply for Filipinos),” Marcos said during the distribution of land titles and turnover of support services at Zamboanga Del Norte Convention Center in Dipolog City.

Marcos said he hopes the program would, likewise, encourage the beneficiaries’ children to venture into farming.

“Ito rin po sana ay maghimok sa inyong mga anak at sa kanila pang magiging anak na ipagpatuloy ang marangal na propesyon ng pagsasaka, dahil sila po ang pag-asa ng [susunod] na henerasyon (I hope this would also encourage your children and their future children to continue the profession of farming, because they are the hope of the next generation),” he said.

President Marcos personally gave more than 4,900 land titles and extended assistance to farmers of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay to fulfill the decades-long dream of farmers in the province to own land.

Of the figure, 1,211 land titles were given to Zamboanga Sibugay; 2,211 to Zamboanga del Norte; and 1,534 to Zamboanga del Sur.

The President also turned over more than PHP15 million worth of farming tools and equipment to increase production and ease the work of 15,773 ARBs.

Of the figure, PHP 3.6 million worth of machinery and equipment were given to Zamboanga del Norte; more than PHP 9.1 million to Zamboanga del Sur and almost PHP3 million to Zamboanga Sibugay.

The assistance is part of the sustainable livelihood support projects for rice and vegetable production, major crop block farming, chicken egg production, among others.

“Ang lahat ng ito ay naglalayong gawing mas masagana ang inyong mga sakahan, mapagaan ang inyong paghahanapbuhay, at mapabuti ang antas ng pamumuhay ng inyong pamilya (All these aim to make your farms bountiful, ease your work, and improve the living conditions of your families),” he said

Filane Mikee Cervantes (PNA)