LUNA, Apayao – These were the grateful words of 76-year-old Eufrocina V. Baqueren, who was recently awarded titles to the land her family has been tilling for more than seven decades.

Baqueren was one of the 378 farmers who received Certificates of Landownership Awards (CLOA) covering a total of 337.6824 hectares last December 7, 2018 at the Apayao Provincial Capitol Grounds, Brgy. San Isidro Sur, Luna, Apayao.

The agricultural lands distributed are located in the municipalities of Luna, Flora, Sta. Marcela, Pudtol, and Conner.

Baqueren and four of her 12 siblings worked together in the farm to help send their younger brothers and sisters to school. The same land also provided livelihood to Baqueren when she started her own family.

While her siblings and children grew up to become degree holders and professionals, Baqueren is thankful to finally hold the titles to the land she has toiled on for most of her life.

During the distribution of CLOAs, Agrarian Reform Secretary John R. Castriciones said that this is precisely the purpose of agrarian reform, to give farmers the dignity of owning their own land. Castriciones stressed that the farmers’ role in society is critical because the entire nation will go hungry without them.

“The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is doing its best not only to distribute CLOAs but also to provide support services so that Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARB) will be able to improve their lives,” he said.

Apart from infrastructure and social development projects, the DAR also provides lending services to ARBs.

Castriciones further disclosed the DAR’s housing project for farmers, which could be built in the lands awarded to them.

He ended his speech with an expression of gratitude to the local government headed by Governor Elias Bulut, Jr. for his support to the DAR and its beneficiaries.