Hda. Luisita beneficiaries stay as owners of farmlots awarded to them under CARP

news national 1 pix 1 may 26 2017AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano has declared that ownership and control of farmlots awarded to farmer-beneficiaries inside the Hacienda Luisita stay with them as all form of contracts they had entered into, be they rent out, lease out and/or sales, among others, are considered void ab initio or void from the very beginning.

Mariano issued this clarification in the wake of reports that any farmer-beneficiaries found to have sold, leased or rented out the farmlots awarded to them under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) would be disqualified and stripped of their rights as beneficiaries.

“In the first place, no violation was ever committed since the act being imputed to was void ab initio or void from the very beginning, as if no offense had ever been committed,” the Secretary explained.

Mariano cited Section 70, paragraph 2 of the Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL),  which states that: “Any sale or disposition of agricultural lands after the effectivity of this Act found contrary to the provisions hereof shall be null and void.”

This, he said, is reinforced by the prohibitory acts under Section 73 (f) of the same law: “The sale, transfer or conveyance by a beneficiary of the right to use or any other usufructuary right over the land he acquired by virtue of being a beneficiary, in order to circumvent the provisions of this Act.”

The DAR chief said the visit to Hacienda Luisita was only meant to stress the fact that the ownership and control over the farmlots awarded to each farmer-beneficiary stay with them as the various form of transferring and/or conveyance the rights over the said farmlots were illegal and, therefore, have no force and effect.

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DAR grooms Agusan Norte ARBs to become leaders

news national 1 pix 1 may 25 2017At least 150 farmer-beneficiaries from Agusan Norte develop their leadership abilities and learn the principles of cooperativism during a series of leadership and values re-orentation seminars held recently by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Andre Atega said the participants include cooperative leaders and officers, all of them are farmer-beneficiaries, from 23 agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organizations (ARBOs) from the said province.news national 1 pix 2 may 25 2017    

“The seminar aimed to strengthen the participants leadership capabilities and their organizations with the basic principles on cooperativism and to provide a means to build integrity with the mission and values of the cooperative. The DAR is intensifying its effort to help the coop leaders and officers to become an effective leader in their organization,” Atega said.

DAR Coop Strengthening Coordinator Juanita B. Balibay said the agency in Agusan del Norte, under the leadership of PARPO  Atega, and in partnership with the Propegemous, Inc., are working closely to empower the farmers and their organizations,” Balibay added.

news national 1 pix 3 may 25 2017"Kami mapasalamaton kay nadugangan ang among kahibalo sa pagpalambo sa kooperatiba (we are thankful that we learned something to improve our cooperative," said Manager Sergio Rensulat of Pinana-an, Ambacon and Mat-i ARB Cooperatives (PAM-ARBC).

The two-day leadership seminars, conducted in four sessions, were held in DAR’s Agrarian Information and Marketing Center. (Gil E. Miranda)

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DAR distributes land titles to Barili farmers

news national 1 pix 1 may 24 2017The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through Regional Director Alejandro S. Otacan congratulates the new landowners of an agricultural property as the DAR recently distributed Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) to 25 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in  Barili, Cebu.

Otacan said the land   with an  area of 21.5077 hectares  planted with rice, maize, bananas, vegetables and coconuts are located at barangay Luhod, Malolos, Gunting and Mantalongon, all of Barili, Cebu.

“Land distribution component is provided under the constitution which aims to distribute agricultural land to the landless farmers”, Otacan noted.

Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Nestor Castro led the CLOA distribution to the ARBs and encouraged them to make the best on their awarded lands by participating in the activities of the agrarian reform based-organization where they can be easily assisted by the DAR.

He emphasized that there are various programs and services of the DAR that can be availed by the farmers such as trainings under the capacity development programs, credit assistance, farm machineries, marketing assistance, and other support services from the government. (Yuna Elluza Kintanar)

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Groups, DAR employees, support Ka Paeng’s CA confirmation

news national 2 pix 1 may 23 2017QUEZON CITY (May 23, 2017)—Various groups and the employees of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) gathered today in front of the DAR to express support for the confirmation of the appointment of DAR Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano.

Organized by the DAR Employees Association (DAREA) headed by Antonia Pascual, the gathering brought together farmers groups, youth groups, women’s groups and other advocates supporting the confirmation of Mariano who has been bypassed last week for the third time.

Mariano’s friends and allies held a pep rally to ask for support from the public for his confirmation from the Commission on Appointments (CA) as Secretary of the DAR.

Despite the CA not greenlighting his appointment, President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly expressed confidence and trust in him.

Proof of this is the President’s order for Mariano to return the 159 evicted farmers of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (MARBAI) to the 145-hectare banana plantation in Tagum, Davao del Norte.

Exactly 10 days after the President’s directive, Mariano successfully re-installed the farmers last May 18, with the help of the Philippine National Police.

Mariano said he fear for the safety of the farmers. “Although they are now installed in their farm lots, they are still in danger,” said Mariano.

“As long as I am able to, and within the boundaries of the law, I will continue to fight for farmer’s rights and welfare,” vows Mariano.

A true farmer-leader

As a farmer who experienced firsthand state neglect and inadequate government support, Ka Paeng expects nothing less than the ideal, merging practical solutions with programs that prioritize the welfare of farmers.

His contributions to the peasant movement as head of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) span years of tirelessly working on the streets as a mass leader. For almost 40 years, Ka Paeng has pushed for genuine land reform and national industrialization to address all forms of exploitation on the poor.

On his first day as DAR Secretary, he promised to rectify the policy mistakes of previous DAR administrations. He declared an “open-door policy” by removing the locks of the DAR Central Office gates which had been literally closed from dispossessed farmer-tenants for more than 18 years. Almost 9,000 farmers have been reached by DAR for consultations and dialogues in his first six months alone.

The DAR Chief was able to rally the support of President Duterte who finally convened the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC)—the highest policy and decision-making body for agrarian reform. The PARC has already met thrice in the past 10 months and has cancelled two stock distribution options (SDO) contracts in Negros and Davao.

NDFP’s support

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines, on Saturday said the presence of reformist personalities in the Duterte’s administration is a benefit for the government’s peace talks with communists.

 “The inclusion in the Cabinet of Mariano, Taguiwalo and Lopez works well for the entire peace process because they are in a position to help push much-needed socio-economic reforms,” the NDF said.

Mariano sat down as a consultant of the Government of the Republic if the Philippines (GRP) during the fourth round of peace negotiations with the NDFP. With the promise to bring genuine agrarian reform close to realization, both panels agreed to use free land distribution to landless farmers as the guiding principle of agrarian in the country.

Mariano affirmed in the crafting of the Socio-Economic Reforms (Caser) the provisions including free land distribution to farmers and the dismantling of land monopoly that involve thousands of hectares of agricultural lands.

The NDFP and the GRP are currently working on finalizing the Caser, one of the agreements that will lead the way for a final peace pact.

The NDF said Mariano, who was a known peasant leader before becoming a public official, “will play an important role in implementing the program of free land distribution for poor farmers and farm-workers in the country.”

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DAR asks Duterte’s help in distributing reservation areas of USM, CFCST

news national 1 pix 1 may 23 2017AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano has sought the help of President Duterte in distributing to landless farmers some 3,800 hectares of reservation areas of the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) and of the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology (CFCST).

In a memorandum addressed to the President, Mariano requested for the issuance of a presidential order that supports the placement of unused portion of the landholdings of the USM and CFCST under the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Mariano also asked President Duterte that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) be allowed “to immediately proceed with the acquisition and distribution of the landholdings of the USM and the CFCST and the identification of possible beneficiaries.

The DAR chief also asked the President to direct the Commission on Higher Education and the governing Board of Directors of the USM and the CFCST to issue the necessary resolutions that would allow the DAR to cover the institutions’ unused areas.

The USM’s and the CFCST’s unused areas cover a total of 3,878 hectares, which encompass through seven barangays of the municipality of Arakan, Cotabato – Badiangon, Doroluman, Ilustre, Makalangot, Malibatuan, Meocan and Naje.

The said landholdings had been placed under CARP coverage since July 28, 2008 when the DAR issued a notice of coverage to the managements of the USM and the CFCST by virtue of the Executive Order No. 407, as amended by EO 448, issued by the late President Corazon Aquino in 1990.

The said EO mandates DAR to accelerate the transfer/distribution of lands suitable for agricultural that are owned, reserved for state colleges and universities.

Officials of the USM and the CFCST, however, have yet to issue the Deeds of Transfer as they allegedly could not agree on who among them has the authority to sign the said document.

The question has lingered on despite the issuance of Opinion No. 13, series of 2012, by the Department of Justice, concurring with the view of the DAR that there is no legal impediment that prevents USM and the CFCST from turning over to the DAR portions of its reservation areas.

The DAR’s view states that: “The lands or some of its portions that are reserved by virtue of presidential proclamation for specific public uses shall be segregated from the reservation and transferred to the DAR for distribution under CARP to qualified beneficiaries if the two conditions are present:

1.    That the lands or portions thereof are suitable for agriculture; and,

2.    That the same is determined by the DAR, in coordination with concerned government agencies or instrumentalities, as no longer actually, directly and exclusively or necessary for the purpose for which they have been reserved.”

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