639 Isabela farmers now own land they tilled for decades

At least 639 farmers in Isabela have received the titles enabling them to call the land that they have been tilling for decades as their own.

During the "Handog Titulo" ceremony at a private hotel here on Tuesday, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Orly Cariazo said the new landowners received their titles under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-implemented Land Administrative Management Program.

He lauded the Registry of Deeds and local government units (LGUs) for their support and assistance “that made the program possible.”

One of the land title recipients, Fortunato Villanueva of Mabantad village in Cauayan City, said he was tearful after receiving the title and thankful for “finally owning the land after toiling hard with our sweat and brows with no security of ownership in the past.”

He said his ancestors had tilled the land before him and he inherited it before finally receiving the title after 63 years.

“This is a momentous occasion and I am thankful to the DENR for having this kind of program that is beneficial to us," Villanueva added.

Gamu Mayor Nestor Uy said he initiated the LGU-led land titling in partnership with DENR and Land Registration Authority (LRA) in order to help the farmers uplift their living conditions, which hopefully will redound to local economic growth.

He expressed full support to the DENR-LRA officials for the patent distribution in his town.

"Through the land titles, revenue collection increases in the form of real property taxes," Uy said.

Tumauini Mayor Arnold Bautista, who is president of Isabela Mayors’ League, said the title distribution “is a solution to the conflict between and among family heirs, clans, and neighboring squabbling over boundaries.”

He urged farmers not to sell their lands as only “few have the opportunities to be awarded land titles by the government.”

Title grants benefit recipients because they no longer have to bear the brunt of tedious land transactions and undergo the complex and long process, lawyer Ariel Vallejo of the Registry of Deeds said.

He congratulated the new landowners and expressed her appreciation to the DENR and local agencies for linking with the deeds registry office.

Alex Pascua, DENR-Land Management Bureau land management division chief, said the Handog Titulo Program is anchored on the government's policy to give land to the landless, focused on Residential Free Patent under Republic Act 10023 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan said the initiative is part of the government's program which aims to fuel progress in communities and improve the economic productivity of the people by expediting the processing and issuance of public land patents to qualified beneficiaries.

She encouraged the recipients “to make the most of their lands through livelihood developments that will contribute to the province's economic growth.”

The "Handog Titulo" program is one of the DENR's priority programs under the government's "Pamana sa Mamamayang Pilipino program: A Duterte Legacy."

Source: Philippines News Agency

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