DAR confident to meet targets in Hacienda Luisita

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philstarMANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agrarian (DAR) Reform on Wednesday said it is confident it would meet its targets of monumenting or physically marking the lots allocated to the beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac in the next few weeks.

DAR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Paruñgao said that as of the April 7 report from the DAR provincial office, 5,947 farmlots or 86.32 percent have already been monumented.

He added that out of these monumented lots, 4,478 or 65 percent have farmer beneficiaries already installed.

The DAR is confident that its self-imposed deadline for monumenting the lots and installing the farmer beneficiaries, which it has set for May, will be met unless outside forces obstruct its activities.

Paruñgao also said that the DAR has been encouraging and assisting beneficiaries to create organizations so that it would be more effective and efficient in channelling support service programs and resources of the department.

"We are assisting the farmers beneficiaries in making their transition into owner-cultivators. We are helping them to organize themselves so that they are able to better organize farm production and marketing of their produce," he said.

The provincial office of the DAR has been able to assist farmer beneficiaries create organizations in 8 of the 10 barangays in Hacienda Luisita.

Meantime, Paruñgao said that the monumenting of the lots would have gone faster and therefore would have resulted in more farmer beneficiaries being installed had there been no instances of harassment of survey teams and destruction of "mujons."

He said that five persons were apprehended last April 3 while harassing a survey team that was plotting out a lot in the area.

The alleged members of farmers group AMBALA were later released pending the filing of appropriate charges.

Paruñgao added that their act of harassment could constitute obstruction of agrarian reform which prescribes a penalty of six to 12 years imprisonment.

"But the point here is everytime such incidents occur it is the beneficiaries who are affected because they have to wait some more in order to get installed in their allocated lots," Paruñgao added.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/nation/2014/04/09/1310638/dar-confident-meet-targets-hacienda-luisita