Over 5,000 certificate of land ownership awards (CLOAs) were distributed simultaneously in Eastern Visayas immediately after President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. handed over nearly 4,000 CLOAs in Central Visayas on May 20, 2024.

Marcos handed out at least 5,400 CLOAs to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in the Provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar, Samar, Northern Samar, and Biliran in consonance with Republic Act 11953 or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act.

RA 11953 aims to "alleviate the debt, including unpaid amortizations, interests, and surcharges incurred by the ARBs under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Farm implements such as 200 machineries worth P10 million were also turned over to farmer groups for 1,500 beneficiaries. The farm equipment include tractors, processing tools and dryers, among others. 

Support services worth over P150 million include around P80 million in bridges to connect farmers to markets and P71 million in small irrigation systems and solar panel arrays; as well as convenient access to loans at the Land Bank of the Philippines to reinvigorate livelihood affected by the El Niño phenomenon.

Marcos mentioned that agrarian reform has always been a government thrust of his late father, the deposed Marcos Sr., and that he seeks to have the reform program accomplished fully under his administration.

“Isa sa una na instruction ng aking amang Marcos ang pagbabahagi ng lupang pansakahan upang mapalaya na natin ang ating mga magsasaka sa pagkakautang. Dapat na nating tapusin ito sa pangalawang administrasyon ng Marcos…,” the President said to the 5,400 beneficiaries. 

He called on the ARBs to help take care of government projects and programs. 

“Alagaan naman ninyo at pagyamanin ninyo ang mga ibinigay ng pamahalaan sa inyo,” the President emphasized. 

A chunk of the ARBs has been waiting for about three decades to receive their CLOAs, Marcos further said. Some of these beneficiaries who were still able to attend the ceremony are already in their 70s.

DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella III assisted the President during the distribution at Tacloban City Convention Center, along with  Province of Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, Southern Leyte Governor Damian Mercado, Southern Leyte Congressman Coco Yap, Leyte Congressman Richard Gomez, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, other local leaders and stakeholders.