BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – An Army official in the province urged farmers to “trust” in the government that is “doing the best it can to address the issues on land reform” for farmers who are “vulnerable” targets of “exploitation and recruitment” by rebels through “deceptive propaganda and lies.”
Lieutenant Colonel Gerard T. Alvaran, who commands the Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion, also praised the efforts of the agrarian reform department in Toboso town DAR office and the local government led by Mayor Richard Jaojoco.
A news release from the 79th civil-military operations office sent to reporters quoted Alvaran as saying that government “through its agencies under the programs to end local communist armed conflict is doing the best it can to address the issues on land reforms knowing that our farmers are vulnerable targets of exploitation and recruitment (by rebels).”
Negros island, which has a population of at least four million people, had long been one of the hotbeds of the armed insurgency of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.
The Directorate for Intelligence of the United States Central Intelligence Agency said in its intelligence assessment on the CPP-NPA’s organizational capabilities that it has focused its recruitment in rural areas since it was founded in 1968.
A “sanitized” copy of the assessment was approved for release to the public in 2013 and was accessed by DNX on the CIA website.
The Army release added the 79th IB and the police assisted the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) and installed 21 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) on Wednesday, 7 October 2020 in Brgy Bandila, Toboso town.
Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Jasmin P. Castillo led the distribution of 42 CLOAs to 21 ARBs and installed them as new land owners of 14.5 hectares of landformerly owned by PNB-Victorias with Title No. T-195 and Lot no. 2775 located in Brgy Bandila, Toboso.
The release said Castillo “reminded the farmers to use their lands productively as well as their tax responsibilities and obligations as new landowners.”
During the distribution, social distancing and wearing of facemasks were strictly observed in compliance to the health protocols against COVID-19, the news release also said.