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Farmers cite fallen leaders in CARP win

LUCENA CITY—For a group of farmers in Bondoc Peninsula district in Quezon province, the land titles they are now holding are fruits of hard work of their slain colleagues who fought for their right to own land.

Last month, 434 farmers received their certificates of land ownership award (Cloa) under the government’s agrarian reform program.

Agrarian conflict in this part of Quezon has claimed the lives of seven farmer-leaders from the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bondoc Peninsula.

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Jansept Geronimo, spokesperson for Kilusan para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan, said the Cloas were “won by blood of fallen farmers.”

Secretary Rosalina Bistoyong, officer in charge of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), led the distribution of Cloa to land reform beneficiaries in a ceremony held in San Narciso town on Oct. 25.

Each beneficiary was allotted a maximum of 3 hectares from the 1,269 ha distributed in the town.

A message of President Duterte to beneficiaries, read by Bistoyong during the ceremony, said: “This triumph is not only for ourselves but for our children and the future of the next generation.”

A statement from the DAR said Board Member Dominic Reyes, one of the owners of Villa Reyes, a portion of which was distributed to former tenants, urged beneficiaries to nurture the land.

“I hope that you will protect these lands, which are now yours, the way our family valued it,” Reyes said.

Cornelio Villapando, head of the provincial DAR office covering Bondoc Peninsula, assured beneficiaries that the government would support them through farm technology, livelihood projects and farm-to-market roads.

DAR records showed that the agency had distributed 59,979 ha to land reform beneficiaries in Bondoc Peninsula out of the target 67,464 ha. —DELFIN T. MALLARI JR.

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