During his visit to Negros Occidental last week, President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to distribute more land in the province. While speaking in Sagay City last Friday, the president distributed 3,423 certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs).
“I, too, want land reform and for the poor,” he stated.
The president went on to say, by the end of his term, all government-owned land will be distributed.
According to the Department of Agrarian Reform, the recently-distributed CLOAs cover around 1,609 hectares of acquired land involving 141 landowners across nearly 20 localities.
Last month, farmers’ organization Task Force Mapalad (TFM) called on the president to fast-track agrarian reform programs in Negros and to begin with the distributions of 30 landholdings, stretching across 900 hectares of land, which TFM said are “already in the CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) pipeline.” The said land is located across a few localities including La Carlota City, Hinigaran, Cadiz City, and Sagay City.
During his speech, the president acknowledged the group’s demands.
“It wasn’t being fast-tracked because, you know, there are people who refuse to let go of the lands,” Duterte explained.
The organization previously noted, 20 percent of landholdings eligible for CARP distribution in Negros Occidental, or around 100,000 hectares, remain under the control of a few families. TFM identified them as “the Lacsons, Gustilos, Javelosas, Lopezes, Locsins, Ledesmas, Aranetas, Consings, Montinolas, Javellanas, Jalandonis, and Benedictos.”
The group also earlier called on Duterte to formally turn over 5,000 hectares of Negros Occidental property currently owned by Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. In a separate press release, they noted CLOAs have already been issued but the said land has yet to be turned over./WDJ