No overpayment in Luisita – DAR

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luisita1 feb 11 2014MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agrarian Reform today stated that the Cojuanco family was not overcompensated for the Hacienda Luisita estate which was distributed to identified beneficiaries in October last year.

The DAR sought to belie allegations made by ACT party list Rep. Antonio Tinio that there was an overpayment of Php 167 million for the land. Tinio said that the amount represents interest on the payment.

In a statement, DAR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao said that there is no overpayment of interest whatsoever. He said that there is a legal basis for the payment of interest which is in Sec. 18 of 6657 of the CARP law itself. Parungao said that in computing for the compensation for Hacienda Luisita, the Landbank based its valuation on the date that the Supreme Court set as date for taking of the landholding.

In its final and executory decision on the Hacienda Luisita case, the Supreme Court decided that 1989 would be the date of taking of the landholding”, Parungao added, “ therefore that should be the reckoning point of the determination of the land’s valuation and the amount of just compensation.”luisita2 feb 11 2014

Parungao explained further that since the land was deemed to have been taken in that year, the AR bonds component of the compensation earned interest during the ten-year maturation until 1999. The Php 167 million is the accrued interest of the bonds for the said period. No interest was paid on the AR Bonds after 1999.

As per Landbank computations, the government valued the Hacienda Luisita lands at Php 67,550 per hectare or a total of Php 304,033,138 for the 4,500.79 hectares. If the interest on the AR Bonds is factored in, the price government is paying for Hacienda Luisita land is PhP 104,759.52. It must be noted that the current value of sugar lands is between PhP 250,000 to PhP 400,000 per hectare.

Farmer-beneficiaries of the estate will be paying Php 46,150.75 spread over 30 years beginning with a mo nthly amortization of Php 57.59 for the first 3 years.

Parungao added that the department would welcome any investigation in order to put to rest doubts on the compensation to the Cojuanco family.