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Friday, 24 November 2023

More agrarian reform beneficiaries in Caraga to acquire individual land titles

By Nora C. Lanuza

BUTUAN CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) plans to continue implementing the Support of Parcelization of the Lands for Individual Titling, or Project SPLIT, to improve land tenure security and stabilize property rights of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in their Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)-awarded lands through accelerated parcelization of Collective Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CCLOAs).

DAR- Caraga Regional Director Atty. Merlita S. Capinpuyan welcomed this development, citing that Project SPLIT is a beacon of hope for the farmers.

“With the extension of the project, thousands of farmer beneficiaries still stand to benefit from Project SPLIT, and their lives will continue to change for the better. The efforts of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., through DAR Secretary Conrado M. Estrella III, made this blessing possible for Project SPLIT to continue,” DAR- Caraga Regional Director Atty. Merlita S. Capinpuyan said

The project, which involves the subdivision of collective land titles into individual land titles, has to definitely proceed despite being behind schedule for its implementation in all regions of the country, as disclosed by the government's economic and finance managers.

For Caraga region in particular, the members of the Caraga Regional Development Council – Economic Development Committee (RDC-EDC), during their recent 4th quarter meeting, unanimously approved the request of DAR-Caraga for the extension of the project implementation.

Dir. Capuyan gave a resounding assurance, stating, “This time, DAR is in full force to effectively complete the implementation of Project SPLIT for the ARBs. This is good news, especially to the farmers, since more of them will become landowners.”

Caraga assistant regional director for operations Agnes Dela Cerna cited the significant factors affecting the timely implementation of the project including COVID-19 global pandemic, typhoons that hit the localities, and the ongoing war in other countries that effectively slowed down the economy, thus, challenging the implementation of Project SPLIT in the region.

Program implementation in Caraga

DAR–Caraga initially targeted a total of 115,448 hectares for the said project. Despite the birth pain of its implementation, it already covered 41,659 hectares, awarding 3,354 CCLOAs and benefiting 23,660 ARBs.

Christian Lafuente, information officer of DAR–Caraga, said, “Aside from CCLOA distribution, as of October 2023, the agency facilitated the registration of 6,190 electronic titles covering 8,800 hectares, with 3,187 e-titles distributed to 2,890 farmer beneficiaries throughout the region.”

In this feat, DAR–Caraga also recognized the efforts and contributions of its partners, such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Land Registration Authority, Registry of Deeds, Land Bank of the Philippines, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Project SPLIT      

Project SPLIT was initially designed to fast-track the parcelization of agricultural landholdings covered under the agrarian reform program, wherein the CCLOAs were issued to several farmer beneficiaries and/or their associations over lands that were not collectively farmed or operated in an integrated manner, as embodied by the ambitious but feasible goal that CCLOAs should be parcelized in all regions of the country.

DAR highlighted the essence of Project SPLIT as this will promote social justice and pursue the full implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by enabling farmer-beneficiaries  to have a clear and defined ownership of the parcels of land they are tilling; encouraging  farmers to increase their production and make long-term improvement of their land; stabilizing  the ownership, tenure, and control of the lands awarded to the ARBs; encouraging  individual farmers of compensable lands to pay amortization fees as the same can be properly computed and collected; attaining sound rural development through equitable distribution of all agricultural lands across the country; and generating  short-term income opportunities for the project workers who will be hired in the implementation of this project.

As the flagship project of DAR, Project SPLIT was launched in October 2020 and co-funded by the World Bank with a total estimated budget of $473.5 million, to observe a three-year implementation to subdivide 1.36 million hectares nationwide of collective land titles into individual land titles, with a total of 1,140,735 farmer beneficiaries expected to finally become landowners. This project should culminate this year 2023, following its initial timeline agreement.(NCLM/PIA-Caraga)