DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said that the lots in question have already been issued NOCs through publication in a newspaper of general circulation on December 17, 2013. He explained that the parcel of land in question was not part of the land transferred to the Hacienda Luisita, Inc. under the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) program which the Supreme Court ordered with finality to be distributed to farmworker-beneficiaries last year. Certificates of Land Ownership Awards or CLOAs (the land titles given to agrarian reform beneficiaries) have already been issued to farmworker-beneficiaries in this more than 4,000-hectare land.
As in the case of the TADECO lands, the DAR, in the recent months, has been issuing NOCs to landholdings which are not originally part of its scope but are being reported by its stakeholders as possibly covered by CARP.
The TADECO lands now at issue, for which NOCs were released, are nine lots covered by eight titles located in Barangays Balete and Cutcut in Tarlac with an aggregate area of about 358 hectares. NOCs were issued after the DAR, in the ordinary course of its operation, determined that the landholding is coverable under CARP.
The NOC is the initial step in the process of acquiring and distributing land under the agrarian reform law.
The DAR will afterwards determine who are qualified to become beneficiaries of the land. The land reform agency said that considering that the land at issue is NOT part of the landmark Supreme Court decision on Hacienda Luisita, the governing rules on who are qualified to become beneficiaries are that provided in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform law as amended by the CARPER, and DAR Administrative Order No. 7, Series of 2013 and all other related rules of the agency on land acquisition and distribution of private agricultural lands.
The DAR emphasized that merely entering and cultivating the farm lots will not automatically qualify a person to become an agrarian reform agency. In fact, it reminded those who want the TADECO lands to be distributed not to prematurely enter and cultivate the land. De los Reyes said that this may be a ground for those who are potentially qualified to be disqualified from being beneficiaries of the said landholding.
The DAR also reminded the landowner against conducting any activities that may tantamount to premature or illegal land use conversion.
Last Saturday, police and security personnel of TADECO arrested 8 farmers who attempted to resist a reported bulldozing of lands which they had planted to rice and vegetables.
Earlier TADECO already sent notices of eviction to 134 farmers in Barangay Balete. It maintained that the farmers entered the lot without permission and that the farming activities were against the law.