MAASIN CITY – How long should a farmer wait before he gets to own the land he is tilling?

In this city, a farmer patiently waited for 80 years until he received a title to a one-hectare land that he started tilling since he was a boy.

Lino Malasaga, a resident of Barangay Hantag, an upland village in this city, made history as the longest land tiller and Eastern Visayas’ oldest recipient of an individual land title under the government’s comprehensive agrarian reform program.

Now at 92-years old, Malasaga received his land title to the 1.22 hectares land from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) during the simultaneous distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) nationwide on July 7 this year.

His parcel of land is part of the 6.4171-hectare abaca farm situated in the adjacent village, Malapoc Sur, once covered by a collective CLOA.

Malasaga was still in disbelief when DAR provincial officials visited him last week to facilitate the issuance of tax declaration as the new owners of the land awarded to him. He said that he never expected that he would ever get hold of a land title in his name to the land he had been tilling.

He thanked President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III for the free land title without spending a single centavo.

“I started working on that land when I was only 12 years old,” Malasaga said. “As the eldest, I took the responsibility of my father when he died. I worked hard on that land to feed my mother and my other siblings. That is why I was not able to go to school.” Now a widower, Malasaga is advised by his children to rest from his farming activities and just entrust everything to them. By Elmer Recuerdo (EV Mail July 31-August 6, 2023 issue)