THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said it distributed 120.5 hectares of land to 50 coconut farmers in San Francisco, Quezon.

The certificates of landownership award (CLOA) were given to the farmers, who are also agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program extension with reform (CARPer). They are former coconut farm workers of private landholdings.

The land was formerly owned by members of the Matias family — Mario, Michael, and Moises, is located in Barangay Silongin and Barangay Casay in Quezon province.

“As owners of the land, farmers will be freed from the burden of paying rentals for the use of the land and from fear of getting ejected as tenants,” DAR Regional Director Rene E. Colocar said in a statement.

Republic Act No. 9700, or CARPer, extended the deadline for acquisition and distribution of agricultural land to farmers for five years after 2008. This was signed into law in August 2009 and was set to expire June 30, 2014, but any pending cases as of that date were allowed to proceed until resolution. Beneficiaries include landless farmers, agricultural lessees, tenants, as well as regular, seasonal, and other farm workers.

The five-year extension was allocated a budget of P150 billion from the Agrarian Reform Fund, the General Appropriations Act (GAA), and other sources. This is the largest annual budget in the history of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

“The DAR, Department of Agriculture (DA), the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and other CARP-implementing agencies coordinate with each other to ensure that program beneficiaries will have a better life after receiving their land titles,” Mr. Colocar said.

“Now that you own the land, be responsible and make it productive and progressive. We at the DAR will provide you with support services to help you achieve this,” he added. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang