The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has wrapped up its lot allocation activities last August 19, 2013 for all Hacienda Luisita farmworker-beneficiaries in the 10 barangays covering the vast sugar estate.
Despite the threat of heavy torrential rains brought about by Typhoon Maring, the farmworker beneficiaries started arriving as early 7:00 a.m. at the venue of the lot allocation. The DAR was in any case ready to push through with lot allocation activities for the last batch of more than 800 farmworker-beneficiaries in Barangay Mapalacsiao.
The first lot allocation activity took place last July 18 in Barangay Cutcut, and subsequent ones were held successively twice a week in Barangays Lourdes, Bantog, Asturias, Motrico, Pando, Mabilog, Parang, and Balete. Originally, two days were allotted for lot allocation in each barangay but DAR personnel managed to finish lot allocation in one day in all barangays, largely because of the cooperation of the beneficiaries themselves.
For each barangay where lot allocation was completed, DAR immediately started generating the land titles (called Certificates of Land Ownership Award or CLOAs) that will be given to the beneficiaries who were given their Lot Allocation Certificates and have signed their Applications to Purchase and Farmer’s Undertaking (APFUs).
DAR Undersecretary Anthony Parungao, who supervised the lot allocation activities with the DAR Secretary, noted that roughly ninety per cent (90) percent of the qualified beneficiaries in all barangays attended or were represented in the drawing of lots in order to receive their Lot Allocation Certificates and affix their signatures on the APFUs.
Those who failed to attend the drawing of lots had been advised to go to the DAR Provincial Office in Tarlac to receive their Lot Allocation Certificates and sign the APFUs.
Both documents are needed for DAR to generate the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) that would be distributed to all qualified beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita.
Each beneficiary will own farm lots with an area of 6,600 square meters, more or less.
Delos Reyes stressed that all CARP beneficiaries in private agricultural lands, not only the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers, are required to sign the APFU document as a pre-condition for owning the land under the agrarian reform program.
Refusal of any identified farmer-beneficiary to sign the APFU, Delos Reyes noted, is a ground for the farmer or farmworker to be stricken out of the list of beneficiaries and be replaced by other qualified beneficiaries. This is so because the signing of the APFU manifests the willingness of the farmer-beneficiaries abide by his/her obligation under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program which is to (a) cultivate the farm lots awarded to them, (b) pay the amortization based on the lands’ assessed value as well as the real estate taxes, and (c) desist from committing prohibited acts.
The DAR chief explained that existing laws on CARP implementation require all farmer-beneficiaries in private agricultural land to pay the land awarded to them through government-subsidized amortization.
The APFU, he added, serves as the basis of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) in the preparation of the schedule of amortization, which sets the date when farmer-beneficiaries should pay the amount due to the bank.
Scheduled payments for CARP-awarded lands are set for 30 years. The awarded land cannot be converted to other uses, other than agricultural, within five years and cannot be sold within 10 years from the time of awarding.
Technically, the government subsidizes the farmers as they often pay much less than what the government has paid to acquire the lands for them. Farmers are considered official owner of the land only after full payment of the amortization.
“The APFU is not a new animal bred by this administration. The signing of APFU has long been required since the first day of CARP implementation in 1988,” the DAR chief pointed out.