Gov’t land distribution empowers 26,000 farmers in CL

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MORE THAN 26,000 landless farmers and their families in Central Luzon received their land titles under the “Handog Titulo” program of the government as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) intensifies its land distribution effort this year.

Maximo Dichoso, executive director of the regional DENR here confirmed that a total of 5,392 land titles covering 1,947 hectares of public lands were given away to marginalized farmers in the region this year.

Of these, a total of 2,694 land titles covering 1,763 hectares of public lands were distributed under the regular land distribution program of the DENR, and another 1,139 titles covering 84 hectares under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

“Only when farmers are assured of land security are they motivated to develop their lands. The first step, therefore, to achieving agricultural and countryside development is by providing our farmers with land titles,” he explained.

Tirso Parian, deputy DENR director for land management, reported that another 1,559 land titles were also distributed to farmers under Republic Act 10023, or the New Residential Free Patent Act (RFPA). 

Qualified Filipino citizens who are actual occupants of a residential land for at least 10 years are given free patent titles under the RFPA.

DENR records showed that the government land distribution program benefited a total of 77,245 landless farmers in Central Luzon since 1999.

As this developed, the DENR completed 21 cadastral survey projects covering 332,616 ha in Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Zambales.

Cadastral survey projects involved surveying extensive tracts of previously unsurveyed or incompletely surveyed lands in towns, cities, and provinces to expedite land registration and promote land valuation and taxation efforts of local governments.

To facilitate land administration and management, the DENR entered into a memorandum of partnership agreement (Mopa) with nine local government units (LGU) in four provinces in Central Luzon under the LGU-led land titling program of the DENR.

Parian said the towns of Llanera, Carranglan, Laur, Gen. Tinio, and Penaranda in Nueva Ecija; San Marcelino and Olongapo City in Zambales; Minalin in Pampanga; and Mayantoc in Tarlac already committed to partner with the DENR in expediting land titling activities in these areas.

Under the LGU-led land titling program of the DENR, municipal assessors shall be deputized as Public Land Investigators to assist the DENR in land distribution efforts.

The partnership agreements are expected to improve the LGU’s tax collection efforts, increase land-based market activities, provide clean titles and greater access to credit facilities, and reduce land conflict cases and boundary disputes.