DAR 7 to distribute immediately 921 of 2K discovered land titles

THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) 7 is scheduling the distribution of 921 certificate of land ownership awards (Cloas) and emancipation patents (EPs) covering 813 hectares in Cebu.

They form part of the 2,007 land titles (1,620 Cloas and 387 EPs) covering 1,636.72 hectares that were found inside two sacks at the DAR Cebu provincial office.

Their registration dates are between 1987 and 2020.

DAR 7 Director Resty Osias said on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, that the majority of the properties are located in the towns of Daanbantayan, Aloguinsan, Sogod and Carmen and Toledo City, although the undistributed land titles cover all parts of Cebu Province.

He said he had asked the DAR Cebu provincial office to start distributing the titles next week.

“Hitches like these should not be the basis for the measurement of the department. For all we know, we are not sure what really happened during those years when this incident occurred. We are not sure if there were policies involved here that’s why there is a need for further investigation on the matter,” he said.

On Monday, May 3, DAR Secretary John Castriciones said 13 DAR Cebu officials will face administrative and criminal raps after the two sacks containing the undistributed land titles were discovered.

Castriciones did not disclose their names and Osias doesn’t know who the 13 officials are.

Osias cited possible reasons for the delay in the distribution of land titles to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Cebu, including the fact that some ARBs cannot be located, while some of the Cloas and EPs are pending litigation.

He also cited manpower constraints since there are only municipal agrarian reform officers (Maros) assigned in field in the province. Before 2012, Cebu, he said, used to have 35 Maros.

Osias assumed office on Aug. 22, 2019.

Aside from the 921 Cloas and EPs ready for immediate distribution, the discovered titles also include 270 titles ready for distribution to heirs of dead ARBs, 12 for survey (or those with problems on overlapping), 20 currently under survey and 325 belonging to ARBS who cannot be identified or located. The status of the rest is still being validated.

“The people that they asked, the barangay captains, said that they don’t know these people (ARBs). They are unknown in the area,” Osias said.

He said copies of the Cloas and the EPs must be delivered to their owners within 180 days from generation by the Registry of Deeds.

He said there will be further validation and they will be creating a bigger task force for areas with unknown ARBs.

Prior to Castriciones’s announcement on Monday, Osias said he was informed that there were around 1,000 undistributed Cloas in Cebu.

He said he already asked the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office to verify the information and conduct an inventory.

Castriciones has created a special task force to look into the matter. (WBS)