The government has wrapped up the most contentious stages in the acquisition of Hacienda Luisita under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), and is currently preparing for the sugar estate’s distribution to qualified beneficiaries, to be completed possibly between August and September this year.
This was the gist of the Third Quarterly Report submitted by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to the Supreme Court in compliance with the Court’s directives related to the Hacienda Luisita case.
In its report, the DAR reiterated that it has completed the screening and identification of more than 6,000 beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita making the cut in the Final Master List of Qualified Farmworkers-Beneficiaries (FWBs).
Each beneficiary is expected to own farm lots with an area of 6,600 square meters, more or less, from the total area of 4,099 hectares up for distribution.
A private survey firm hired by DAR had conducted and recently completed the consolidation and subdivision survey on a total of 5,149 hectares in Hacienda Luisita.
Of the area surveyed, the 500 hectares of the converted area and 80.51 hectares covered by SCTEX were not subject to distribution based on the Supreme Court’s final decision in the Hacienda Luisita case.
Furthermore, roughly 468.49 hectares were excluded from distribution to qualified beneficiaries. These areas cannot be distributed to individual beneficiaries because of their current use. Excluded from distribution are residential areas, canals, roads, firebreaks, a cemetery, buffer zones, lagoons, fishponds, eroded areas, and legal easements.
While non-farm lots such as roads, firebreaks, fishponds, lagoons, and canals were excluded from distribution, DAR officials explained that these will still be covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) for common use of qualified beneficiaries.
“These areas will remain under RP title and will serve as common areas for beneficiaries,” DAR Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes explained.
Minus these common areas, a total of 4,099 hectares of farm lots will be distributed shortly to 6,212 qualified beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita.
The DAR, in its latest report to the Supreme Court, said the Department had just finished finalizing the mechanics of allocating farm lots for those who qualified as beneficiaries in the country’s biggest sugar estate.
The allocation activity, to be conducted through the drawing of lots, is a crucial step in generating the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) that will be given to qualified farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita.
Unlike in rice lands where tenants occupy specific farm lots, Delos Reyes explained that farmworkers in haciendas have no permanent farm lots to claim as their own.
The valuation work of Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) on the CARP-covered area of Hacienda Luisita, meanwhile, is near completion, with the release of almost all of the Memoranda of Valuation (MOVs) on the property.
After receiving the initial batch of MOVs, the DAR Provincial Office (DARPO) in Tarlac issued the corresponding Notices of Land Valuation and Acquisition (NLVAs) to Hacienda Luisita, Inc., starting on May 2, 2013, in accordance with the procedure governing the land acquisition and distribution of CARP-covered landholdings.
Subsequent MOVs for the remaining areas subject of the segregation survey and their corresponding NLVAs have likewise been issued and posted, respectively.
Consequently, the DAR had requested the Registry of Deeds (ROD) to transfer the ownership of HLI lands to the Republic of the Philippines (RP). These titles, issued in the name of the RP, were registered and released to DAR from 20 May 2013 to 17 June 2013. The issuance of the few remaining RP titles are expected shortly.
It will be recalled that the Supreme Court, in a final Resolution on April 22 last year, upheld the 2006 decision of the DAR to distribute the vast landholding to farm workers who, together with the Tarlac Development Corp., had agreed to own shares of stock in the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) instead of lands under a stock distribution arrangement.
The High Court also ordered the DAR to segregate from the 4,915.15 hectares the 500 hectares that were sold later to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and the 80.51 hectares bought by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, or a total of 580.51 hectares.