News Release

More than 600,000 farmers freed from debt after PBBM signs potentially life-changing new Agrarian Law

MANILA (PIA) — More than 600,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) expressed their heartfelt thanks to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for signing the potentially life-changing New Agrarian Emancipation Act on Friday, July 7, which will free them from unpaid debts worth P57.65 billion.

“We will continue the agrarian reform—not only in giving land to the farmers who until now still have no land, but to completely free them from the debt that prevents them from fully owning the land given to them by the government,” Pres. Marcos said in a ceremony at Malacañang, adding the law was a fulfillment of his promise to continue the agrarian reform program.

The law, which was passed by Congress in June, condones all unpaid amortizations, interests, and surcharges on awarded lands. It also assumes the obligation of ARBs for the payment of just compensation to landowners under the Voluntary Land Transfer or Direct Payment schemes.

Marcos also said that the government would provide ARBs with the support they need to make their farms more productive.

“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 construction of more farm-to-market roads,” Marcos said.

In Ilocos Norte, Teresita Pagaduan, from Pasuquin town, expressed her gratitude for the title that was awarded today, which has long been awaited since 1994. She also expressed her joy that she received the e-Title under the term of President Marcos, an “Ilokano” president.

“I am grateful to the DAR for their help in processing our titles. It is difficult to process titles because of the large amount of fees involved. They [DAR] themselves came to us to help us. They made them split type so that the titles were individually named after us,” said Pagaduan.

A total of 4,000 e-Titles were distributed. Of this number, 2,911 for Ilocos Norte farmers; 475 for Ilocos Sur; 51 for La Union; and 607 for Pangasinan.

This covers a total of 4,305 hectares of agricultural land in the Ilocos region.

Under the agency’s Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) program, it subdivides the Collective Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CCLOAs) into individual land titles and then distributed to qualified ARBs.

In Palawan, some 300 ARBs received their Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-Palawan.

“I will nurture and make the land awarded by the DAR productive to ensure the country’s food security, especially in Coron,” said Rose Ann Gestupa, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Major in Animal Industry, and one of the beneficiaries.

DAR-Palawan has already distributed 80 hectares of agricultural lands to 102 ARBs, the first tranche of government-owned lands (GOLs) on January 22, 2021; 250 hectares out of a total of 427.0611 hectares of Lot 697 of the Busuanga Pasture Reserve to 98 ARBs on September 20, 2021; and another 900-hectares in Busuanga Cadastre and portion of Busuanga Pasture Reserve to 786 ARBs on April 29, 2022.

In Western Visayas, some 2,542 out of a total 4,850 ARBs also received their CLOA today, which covers a land area of 2,452.2671 hectares from 14 Local Government Units in Negros Occidental 1 (northern Negros) and 12 LGUs in Negros Occidental II (south Negros) in a mass distribution program at Cadiz City Arena.

DAR 6 director lawyer Sheila B. Enciso said about 130,000 farmer beneficiaries covering more than 200 hectares of land in Negros Occ. will benefit from the law.

Enciso urged the recipients of the land to make good in their agricultural endeavor, be productive, and contribute to the country’s goal of food security.

“Our next move will be to organize the recipients into a cooperative so that they can access the department’s support services,” Enciso said.

In Davao Region, more than 700 farmers received individual land titles under the Project SPLIT.

One of the awardees was Rogelio Alicaway, who was finally given a title to a 11,000 square meter farmland in New Corella, Davao del Norte. He said that he had been dreaming of having his own land title for a long time.

“Dako kaayo among pangandoy na maka-angkon ug sarilin titulo kay ako taud-taud mi na wala miy sariling titulo sa yuta (This is our big dream to have our own title, for a long we do not have our own title to the land),” Alicaway said of the land planted to bananas and kalamansi.

“Lipay mi ug dako sa atong Pangulo na gitagaan mi ug pagtagad, naghatag ug pagtagad sa maguuma para mahimo sila tinud-anay na tag-iya (We are very happy to our President; he gave attention to us farmers so we can truly own the land),” he added.

The ceremonial awarding of Electronic Titles (E-Titles) was held at the Enclaves in Davao City where a total of 990 E-Titles were awarded to 789 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in Davao Region covering an area of 1,207 hectares.

Atilano Azures, who also received a land title, said that he was overjoyed to finally own the land that he had been working on for 23 years.

“Nalipay mi na niabot na jud ang panahon na ang yuta na among gi-ugmad, amoa na. gihatag mi Nawala pa mi nakaimpas gihatag niya (We are very happy that the time has come that the land we had worked on is now ours. We have not yet fully paid for it, however, it was given to us),” Azures said.

Azures recalled that the group composed of 184 beneficiaries started to apply for the land 23 years ago.

Meanwhile in Caraga, Nita Mallo, one of the ARBs from the municipality of La Paz, Agusan del Sur, expressed her gratitude to DAR and the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., for this initiative and for constantly looking after the welfare of the farmers.

DAR distributed today CLOAs and e-titles to 2,687 ARBs in the region.

The distribution was held on July 7, 2023 at the Datu Lipus Makapandong Cultural Center in Patin-ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

A total of 4,505 hectares of land were distributed to the beneficiaries, coming from the five provinces of the region: Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

The beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to DAR and the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for this initiative. They said that they are now more motivated to plant more crops and improve their livelihood.

In addition to the signing of the law, Marcos also led the ceremonial awarding of land titles to several beneficiaries representing around 31,000 land titles to an estimated 23,000 ARBs.

The beneficiaries were from different parts of the country, including Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. They were all awarded land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The awarding of land titles is a significant milestone for the CARP, which is one of the most important social reform programs in the Philippines. The program has helped to distribute millions of hectares of land to farmers, and it has helped to improve the lives of millions of people.

The signing of the New Agrarian Emancipation Act and the awarding of land titles highlight the government’s commitment to Filipino farmers and promoting food security. (PIA)