DAR’s SPLIT program bolsters LGU real property tax take in Casiguran, Sorsogon

A program to subdivide the collective certificates of land ownership awards or CLOAs distributed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) encourages timely payment of real property taxes.

This was disclosed on Monday by officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in the province of Sorsogon, following the distribution of individual computerized land titles or C-titles in the area.

It was learned that in Casiguran, Sorsogon, 34 agrarian reform beneficiaries have recent paid their realty taxes.

Francisco Lariosa, revenue collection officer of the Casiguran Municipal Treasurer’s Office also confirmed the positive effect of subdividing the CCLOAs, saying they have so far collected a total of P209,670 in land taxes from said agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) this month.
Lariosa stated that the tax payments had boosted the LGU’s own-source revenue.

The treasurer’s office is still expecting payments from farmer beneficiaries who have not yet paid real property taxes on their farms.

“With DAR’s help, our efforts to improve tax collection will be effective only if we can win the cooperation of our farmers by assuring them that their hard-earned money is being spent efficiently,” he added.

Lariosa urged other farmer-beneficiaries to comply with their tax obligations as well. “If you already have DAR-issued Emancipation Patents [EPs] or Certificates of Landownership Award [CLOAs], he said, you should visit the local treasurer’s office where your land is situated and pay your taxes on time to avoid additional fines.”

Sorsogon agrarian reform chief Nida A. Santiago said the ARBs are among the 46 beneficiaries of the 55.4466-hectare agricultural land formerly owned by Augorio Martires and Carmen Manabat in the villages of Mabini and Timbayog.

The said property is one of the 84 targeted landholdings, with collective titles from 13 municipalities being divided up among recipients individually under DAR’s Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) Project.

SPLIT project subdivides CCLOAs into individual titles to be re-awarded to beneficiaries who are co-owners of a landholding.

Sorsogon intends to subdivide 8,461.1331 hectares by 2023, ensuring that each ARB has its own land title.

According to Santiago, SPLIT project provided the ARBs with property documents that clearly show their absolute ownership, which they can use to access markets, programs, and incentives that will enable them to improve farm productivity, thus increasing their incomes.

Santiago said that parceling collective CLOAs will not only address the issues causing the insecurity of the ARB’s property rights in their awarded lands, but will also help local government units collect new taxes.

“Tax compliance is a trademark of ownership. As the lead CARP implementer, we are tasked with enforcing farmers’ compliance with their rights and obligations as new owners of the government-acquired property.”

“We believe that payment of the real property tax by CARP beneficiaries to LGUs shall commence from the time the DAR awards the lands to them.” This is clear under Section 24 of RA  6657,” she said.

She added that farmlands are assessed based on their ability to produce income (its agricultural economic value).

Meanwhile, Casiguran municipal agrarian reform officer Mariam G. Jamoralin helped farmers pay their taxes and get tax declarations of real property by connecting them directly to the municipal treasurer and assessor offices.

“The municipal assessor must have a receipt attesting to the payment and updating of real property tax before issuing tax declarations. And that’s why we initiated a pulong-pulong to inform them of their responsibilities,” Jamoralin explained.