ILOILO CITY: The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) here will install today at least 348 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) in one of the biggest land and farming areas in Sara town, in northern Iloilo province.
Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer Rodrigo Basa said the installation covers a total of 427.31 hectares, which mostly comprise a hacienda that spans six barangays in Sara. The property is covered by the land titles of landowners siblings Alfredo and Federico Sanson and their heirs.
The landowners, according to Basa, gave a Voluntary Offer to Sell (VOS) on May 14, 1992, which paved the way for the distribution of certificate of land ownership awards (CLOAS) in barangays Alibayong, Labigan, Bagaygay, Batitao, Apologista, and San Luis. Of the total land area, 336.84 hectares are awarded to the ARBs with CLOAS.
The Land Bank of the Philippines has also issued a memorandum and a notice of valuation for the property.
Basa said they have already requested the assistance of 100 municipal and provincial policemen to maintain peace and order in the area. He cited the petition filed by at least 16 individuals asking the court to cancel the CLOAS because they were not included in the approved list of beneficiaries.
A number of land distribution activities in Western Visayas have been reported as troubling after it ended in bloodshed as landowners and tenants continue to fight for land. Basa did not say whether or not the outcome of the petition can affect the land distribution.
Basa also said that they have already coordinated closely with Sara Mayor Neptali Salcedo and other municipal officials to ensure that no untoward incident will happen it today’s activity.
He added that the installation activity can no longer be postponed because a Writ of Installation was already issued on July 27, 2012 and will be implemented even with the pending petition.
Basa dispelled fears of possible bloodshed in the land installation and said everything was discussed with the heirs of the deceased landowners and other stakeholders.
DAR has already awarded 675 CLOAS in the province of Iloilo including 366 pending CLOAS. A total of 4,459 hectares are targeted for distribution to qualified ARBs.