By Rey Anthony Chiu, PIA-Bohol | 11:00 AM April 19, 2021
With clenched fists and pieces of paper raised, a group of farmer members of the Trinidad Talibon Integrated Farmers Association (TTIFA) shouted “Mabuhay ang mga Mag-uuma,” this time with less inhibition that when they were in the streets howling in rallies as street parliamentarians.
The farmers, 66 of them wearing white t-shirts and waving their earned Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) have reasons to be jubilant.
The government, and not the empty promises of the Hugpong sa mga Mag-uumang Bol-anon (HUMABOL), their former organization’s umbrella, has finally given them the legal proof that the land they are now tilling is theirs, and nobody can take it away from them.
“Kapin sa trainta ka tuig jud, daghan na ang nagtuo nga di jud matuman sa goberno ang iyang gisaad, kay mao man pud ang gisulti kanunay sa Humabol,” confessed a beneficiary who would be coming home to a land that would ne their truly.
In that span of 30 years, TTIFA, under their mother organization HUMABOL, has almost succeeded in claiming to the whole country that communism works with a communal farm they illegally tilled, the dissent against the government also a fertile ground for fighters in the underground movement.
With most of them activists openly protesting against the government’s program before, they can now freely and fearlessly shout without fear of getting accused of rebellion or siding with the communist terrorists, after realizing they have been taken for a ride, the promises have remained empty after three decades.
Now with the government, no less than Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones who personally handed to the 66 beneficiaries their land titles which give them their lands as part of the over 111 hectares which the government cleared for distribution from the government sequestered properties of the Bohol Cattle Corporation.
“Dugay gyud namo nga agwanta, kombinse sa mga tawo nga makig-uban sa kagamhanan ug talikdan na ang kagubot,” shares TTIFA Chair Rowena Eronico, who has to begin anew the TTIFA in 2020.
“It was hard to get the sympathy of the people, as they have been indoctrinated to go against the land reform project, but slowly and consistently convincing them of the earnest government efforts, we regained the majority eventually, to process on the claims,” she added.
With Castriciones was a full force of the DAR with Undersecretaries Virginia Orogo, Atty Emily Padilla, Regional Director Resty Osias and regional support staff, DAR provincial Officer Eddie Manginsay and a horde of staff and local officials led by Gov Arthur Yap, Mayor Judith Cajes, Army Commanding Officer Colonel Alan Tabudlo, Bohol Police Chief Osmundo Salibo, PARRCOM Engr. Vicente Loquellano and mayors from neighboring towns.
Castriciones and government officials braved the long and bumpy ride to Sitio Panaghiusa of Barangay San Vicente in Trinidad town, over 100 kilometers from Tagbilaran and into the nest of the most vocal farmers organization under HUMABOL, to deliver the titles, which the farmers have long awaited, April 17.
“The most important part of the lives of farmers is when they get the land they can call their own,” Castricciones said.
“Yesterday, we were in Catigbian for the DAR to door, the department personally delivers the land titles to the owners right at their doorstep,” he shared.
“That is why, we have to exert efforts for our farmers to receive their own piece of land and start helping the country in food production,” the secretary who is personally handling out the proofs of land ownership, stressed.
“During the pandemic, we have recognized the importance of agriculture, the pandemic has made us realize how compromised our status is” [in food production], he admitted.
“That is why, I always say, farmers are true heroes,” highlighting the need to strengthen agriculture in times of the pandemic.
For the DAR people, he said “we all need to work to elevate the economic status of our people, and we do not stop in giving lands, we also have to give them support.”
The activity, according to Castriciones is in consonance with the presidential mandate to finish giving out the lands eligible for award before President Rodrigo Duterte ends his term in July of 2022. (rahchiu/PIA-7/Bohol)