SC Decision Was For Qualified Farmer Beneficiaries, Not For Any Single Group – DAR

on .
dar web news pix 1 april 23 2014 400The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) today clarified that the Supreme Court decision to distribute the land of the Hacienda Luisita estate did not favor any single group, even as it belied claims by the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) that the said decision was in favor of the Ambala solely.

DAR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao said that the SC decision was clear in ordering the distribution of the land to farmer beneficiaries that meet the requirements or criteria it had set in its landmark decision.

He added that Supreme Court had ordered the DAR to distribute land to farmworkers of the hacienda in 1989, which, Parungao said, the Department painstakingly followed.

“That was what the Supreme Court asked us to do”, Parungao added. “There was never any reference in the SC decision to favor any particular farmers' group. It would be grossly unfair to the other groups and farmers which advocated for its distribution, or to the vast majority of unaffiliated beneficiaries, for any one group to claim the land,” he said.

Parungao also said that the DAR has posted in several public locations the names of persons it had deemed as qualified beneficiaries. It has even given the different farmworker groups this list. No one, however, formally filed any petition or action for the removal of any beneficiary.

Parungao then emphasized that the DAR has been engaged in sustained operations to speed up the monumenting of farm lots after the Department allocated farmlots to the qualified beneficiaries and subsequently distributed certified true copies of the titles to the land to the identified farmer-beneficiaries in the last quarter of 2013.

He said that, to date, 87.5 per cent of the monumenting work has been completed. Around 6,024 farm lots had been monumented and about 4,716 farmworker-beneficiaries have been installed in more or less 5,500 lots (or almost 76% of those in the masterlist), despite reported instances of harassment of survey teams and actual destruction of ‘mohons’ by those opposed to the DAR effort.dar web news pix 2 april 23 2014 400

DAR is confident that the remaining 860 lots on balance will be monumented shortly, and that the remaining farmer beneficiaries will be installed by next month, barring any further acts of harassment or obstruction, he said.

Parungao also said that the DAR is assisting farmer-beneficiaries in the 10 barangays of the Hacienda Luisita estate in voluntarily organizing themselves to enable them to better access support services and credit so that they can immediately work on their land.

Some 1,187 beneficiaries have already participated in preliminary organizing activities and are now members of these newly-formed farmers organizations. Parungao expressed confidence that more farmer beneficiaries will join up as the farmers organizations become more stable and engaged in enterprise building.

“Upon the registration of their CLOAs, the farmworker-beneficiaries became the actual owners of their individual parcel of lands. As owners, these beneficiaries are free to determine what they want to do with the same, subject only to the limitations provided by the law.” said Parungao.

In the meantime, Parungao reported that there were indeed parts of the Hacienda owned by TADECO, not Hacienda Luisita Inc., which were not part of the Supreme Court decision, which are being processed under rules and laws pertaining to land acquisition and distribution of CARP. He emphasized that the processing thereof will be subject to the general rules under the CARP law (R.A. No. 6657, as amended), and not the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in the Hacienda Luisita Incorporated case.