A total of 1,666 farmworkers from three barangays in Hacienda Luisita have been allotted individual parcels of land since the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) started the process of land distribution in the vast sugar estate last July 18.
DAR Undersecretary Anthony Parungao said 435 more farmworkers were allotted farm lots last Thursday, July 26, as the DAR resumed its lot allocation activity for qualified beneficiaries in Barangay Bantog.
Last July 22, another set of 586 farmworkers were given lot allocation in Barangay Lourdes.
“We were able to cover almost 25 percent of the total number of beneficiaries, allocating 1,099.56 hectares of land, in the first three days of lot allocation in Hacienda Luisita,” Parungao said.
A total of 6,212 farmworkers have been identified as qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita. Each beneficiary is allotted 6,600 square meters of farm lot, more or less, out of the 4,099 hectares earmarked for distribution.
Parungao noted that more than 90 percent of the qualified beneficiaries in Barangays Cutcut, Lourdes and Bantog attended the drawing of lots in order to receive their Lot Allocation Certificates and affix their signatures on the Application to Purchase and Farmers’ Understanding (APFU).
Those who failed to attend the drawing of lots had been advised to go to the DAR Provincial Office in Tarlac to sign the APFUs and receive their Lot Allocation Certificates.
Both documents are needed for DAR to generate the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) that would be distributed to 6,212 qualified beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita.
After Barangays Cutcut, Lourdes and Bantog, the DAR field personnel would proceed to Barangay Asurias on Monday (July 29) to resume its lot allocation activity.
The DAR expects to wrap up its lot allocation activities on August 21, when all the 10 barangays of Hacienda Luisita are covered.
DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes has vowed to continue with the land distribution process in Hacienda Luisita despite a motion filed by a farmers’ group in the Supreme Court to, among others, stop the DAR from proceeding with the lot allocation activity for qualified farmworker-beneficiaries.
Delos Reyes has expressed disappointment that AMBALA, one of the four farmers’ groups operating in Hacienda Luisita, has moved to stop the process of land distribution in the vast sugar estate.
The DAR chief noted that suspending lot allocation activities in Hacienda Luisita would only prolong the agony of qualified beneficiaries who expect the farm lots to be awarded to them in September.
“Definitely, any order that will stop DAR from proceeding with lot allocation activities in Hacienda Luisita case will set back our timetable in land acquisition and distribution,” Delos Reyes pointed out.
“I don’t see how the suspension of DAR activities in Hacienda Luisita can help the cause of fast-tracking the process of land distribution in the sugar estate. Undue delay in land distribution is definitely not in the best interest of the qualified beneficiaries,” he added.
Delos Reyes said he is ready to defend before the Supreme Court all the activities being undertaken by DAR personnel related to the land distribution process in Hacienda Luisita.