DAR-Cebu execs face charges over land title distribution failure

Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Thirteen officials and personnel of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Cebu will be charged for failing to distribute 2,007 land titles to farmer-beneficiaries, the DAR said yesterday.

The certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) covering 1,636.72 hectares were supposed to be given to 2,000 farmers, DAR Secretary John Castriciones said.

The decision to file charges was based on the result of an investigation conducted by a task force created to validate the status of land distribution in Cebu.

“We found out that these CLOAs have been in storage for several years, depriving the beneficiaries of the opportunity to own a piece of land as provided under the law,” Castriciones said.

The CLOAs were stuffed in two sacks found at the land transfer and implementation division of the DAR provincial office in Cebu.

Castriciones said the DAR provincial office has no right to stop the distribution of land titles.

He said the titles should have been distributed to beneficiaries as soon as these were released to the DAR by the Registry of Deeds.

The DAR should be ready to distribute land titles to the beneficiaries any time, he said.

The task force along with the officials of the DAR-Bureau of Land Tenure and Improvement investigated the authenticity of the land titles from April 21 to 23.

Investigators found out that the titles were authentic as these bore the same security features and serial numbers as reflected in the record book.

“The initial validation helped in determining the year of the registration and the municipalities where it was documented and generated,” DAR Undersecretary and task force head Elmer Distor said.

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