Mariano Amends Guidelines For Would-Be Farmer-Beneficiaries

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news national 1 pix 1 feb. 6 2017Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano issued Administrative Order (AO) 1 suspending the guidelines that require farmer-beneficiaries to sign “promissory notes” or the Application to Purchase and Farmers’ Undertaking (APFU) document to qualify as beneficiary of agrarian reform program.

The APFU is a document that requires farmer-beneficiaries to pay the amortization and real estate taxes of the land desist from committing prohibited acts such as selling the land before it is fully paid. The APFU is a requirement for farmers before they could get their land title, a document also called Certificate of Land Ownership Award or CLOA.

“APFU is arbitrary, discriminatory and self incriminating. It is a ground for the farmer or farmworker to be stricken out of the list of beneficiaries and be replaced by other qualified beneficiaries,” Mariano said.
He said about 111 Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) farmer-beneficiaries were disqualified by the previous DAR administration for refusing to sign the APFU document.

“Refusing to sign the APFU should not be a ground for disqualifying an individual as beneficiary of land reform,” said Mariano, who stressed that disqualification based on refusal to sign an APFU has become common practice for disenfranchising farmer-beneficiaries in other land reform areas in the country.

Mariano issued AO No.1 to suspend the guidelines, and amended Section 19 of A.O. No. 3, Series of 2012 and Section 60 of A.O. No. 7, Series of 2011, in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte's directive to fast track the distribution of lands to farmers.

Under AO 1, ARBs who qualify under the screening process shall state under oath before the judge of the city or municipal court that he/she is willing to work on the land to make it productive and to assume the obligations imposed by pertinent Agrarian Reform Laws on beneficiaries under the Program.

The ARB’s oath shall be in a language or dialect known and spoken by the ARBs. The DAR shall arrange a schedule and transportation for the ARBs to take this oath before the judge or the judge to go to the places of the ARBs.  

Mariano clarified that failure to take the ARB oath shall not be construed as a waiver of the right to become an ARB or as an exemption from fulfilling the obligations of an ARB under agrarian reform laws.

"Qualified ARBs who fails to take the required oath before the judge within the given period shall not be removed from the Master list of ARBs, which shall not be subject to any amendment notwithstanding the failure of the ARBs to take the ARB Oath," he said.

"The AO is issued to ensure that the rights and welfare of all agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) will be protected and to comply with the April 24, 2012, Supreme Court decision. It is also aimed to settle disputes and forge unity among ARBs in Hacienda Luisita," he said.

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