DAR identifies UP Laguna Land Grant as potential area for distribution & housing program for ARBs
PAETE, Laguna, Aug 3 (PIA) –The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) led by Secretary John R. Castriciones conducted a dialogue with the officers and members of the Balatkahoy Farmers Association, Inc., to thresh out issues and problems related to the coverage of the University of the Philippines (UP) Land Grant property, located in Brgy. Alutay, Paete, Laguna, under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Castriciones said that Balatkahoy Farmers Association Inc., has a total of 200 members, where 50 members are presently occupying some areas of the UP land grant, a government-owned land (GOL) acquired by UP in 1964.
Castriciones noted that the UP land grant property comprises a total of 3,356.0430 hectares of land located in Sitio Papatahan (now Sitio Balatkahoy), San Antonio, Kalayaan, (Lots 1 and 2) and Sitios Pabuntoc, Papatahan, Tibag, Bangco, Paete (Lots 3 and 8), all in Laguna.
“Maganda po ang naging resulta ng aming pakikipagpanayam sa mga magsasaka dito. Kasi po naramdaman ng mga magsasaka na miyembro ng Balatkahoy Farmers Association, Inc., ang pakikiramay ng DAR at dahil dinadala namin ang pamahalaan dito mismo sa lugar nila,” he said.
Castriciones afterwards conducted an ocular inspection to the UP land grant property in Kalayaan, Laguna to assess not only how the DAR will distribute the property to the identified CARP farmer-beneficiaries but also on how to create the area into a housing program under the “Balik Probinsya” project through the Bayanihan to Heal as One provisions of the government.
“With the agreement with the National Housing Authority and coordination with the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development, we are now surveying the area for a possible housing program for agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs),” he said.
Previously, the DAR and the Department of Justice (DOJ) signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Executive Order No. 75, series of 2019, which directs all government agencies to identify all government-owned lands (GOLs) which are dedicated or suitable for agriculture, for possible distribution to CARP farmer-beneficiaries.
Qualified beneficiaries are farmers, tillers or farmworkers who are landless or who own less than three (3) hectares of agricultural lands. Also included are Filipino citizens; residents of the barangay (or the municipality if there are not enough qualified beneficiaries in the barangay) where the landholding is located; at least fifteen (15) years of age at the time of identification, screening and selection of the farmer beneficiaries; and with willingness, aptitude, and ability to cultivate and make the land as productive as possible as provided under Section 22 of RA No. 6657, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, as amended. (PIA-4A/DAR PAMRS)