By Darryl John Esguerra

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (RTVM Screengrab)

MANILA – Over 15,000 hectares of land have been distributed to some 9,000 beneficiaries of the agrarian reform program so far this year, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Monday.

Speaking at the distribution of land titles and support services to agrarian reform beneficiaries in Central Visayas at the Lamberto Macias Sports and Cultural Centre in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Marcos said the distributed land is already 65% of the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) annual target of 23,000 hectares.

“Ito ay patunay ng ating patuloy at walang humpay na pagsisikap na tuparin ang aming pangako na kukumpletuhin namin ang Repormang Agrarya dito sa ating minamahal na Pilipinas (This is proof of our continuous and relentless efforts to fulfill our promise of completing the Agrarian Reform here in our beloved Philippines),” Marcos said.

The President said over 3,800 Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) will be issued on Monday to agrarian reform beneficiaries in the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, and Negros Oriental through simultaneous distribution ceremonies.

He also personally turned over five units of four-wheeled tractors and a food dehydrator worth PHP7.3 million to six agrarian reform beneficiary organizations, which is seen to benefit some 1,940 farmers in Negros Oriental.

Moreover, the President said the government has also set aside PHP100 million for the construction of farm-to-market roads in Negros Oriental, while PHP34 million will be allocated for Siquijor province.

“Hindi po dito nagtatapos ang lahat. Marami pa po tayo napaplanong farm-to-market road na nakakahalaga ng halos PHP3 bilyon na gagawin sa Bohol, sa Cebu, sa Siquijor at siyempre dito sa Negros Oriental (It does not end there. We have many more planned farm-to-market roads worth about PHP3 billion to be built in Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor and of course here in Negros Oriental),” the chief executive said.

“Sa pagpapagawa ng kalsadang ito mas mapapadali ang pagdadala ninyo ng inyong ani sa mga pamilihan (By having this roads built, it will be easier for you to bring your produce to the markets),” he added.

Marcos earlier promised to finish the agrarian reform program during his term.

The program started in 1972 when Marcos’ father and namesake, who was then president, issued Presidential Decree 2 that set a land reform program in the country, which was led by Conrado Estrella, grandfather of current Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III.

On Wednesday afternoon, the President is set to distribute over 5,000 land titles to agrarian reform beneficiaries in Eastern Visayas in a ceremony in Tacloban City. (PNA)