Farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita today inched closer to their life-long dream of owning the land they till as the first batch of agrarian reform beneficiaries in the vast sugar estate received their Lot Allocation Certificates indicating the location of their individual farm lots.
The farm lots were allocated by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to individual beneficiaries through the drawing of lots in a tambiolo (raffle drum), which took place in Barangay Cutcut in Tarlac City beginning 8 a.m. today.
Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes said the drawing of lots in Barangay Cutcut was the first in a series of lot allocation activities that will be conducted almost daily until all barangays of Hacienda Luisita are covered.
The DAR-Provincial Office in Tarlac estimated that it would take them until August 21 this year to complete all the lot allocation activities in the country’s biggest sugar estate.
Hacienda Luisita is composed of 10 barangays in three municipalities in the province of Tarlac namely: Barangays CutCut, Bantog, Balete, Asturias, Lourdes, and Mapalacsiao in Tarlac City; Parang, Pando, and Mabilog in the town of Concepcion; and Barangay Motrico in La Paz town.
For the lot allocation activity in Barangay Cutcut alone, a total of 646 qualified beneficiaries were expected to attend the drawing of lots to determine first-hand the location of the individual farm lots to be awarded to them.
While all the names of these beneficiaries were included in the drawing of the lots, only about 300 names were drawn during the first day given the huge number of beneficiaries involved. The rest of the names will be drawn the following day, Friday.
“One thing is sure, all the qualified beneficiaries for the lot allocation activity in Barangay Cutcut will be given Lot Allocation Certificates during the two-day event,” Delos Reyes said.
The farmworkers and their family members left their houses early in the morning, most of them arriving around 7 a.m. at the basketball covered-court of Barangay Cutcut where the drawing of the lots was held.
The qualified beneficiaries waited with bated breath as DAR personnel began reading the names of those drawn from the tambioloand the corresponding location of their individual farm lots, which are digitally projected in real time in an electronic subdivision map of Hacienda Luisita.
The first to draw from the tambiolo was Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Social Communication and Mass Media, who was among the Independent Observers invited by DAR to witness the proceeding.
Also present as Independent Observer was Fr. Lito Santos, parish priest of Barangay Cutcut, who led the opening prayer before the drawing of lots.
Upon reading the name of the first beneficiary drawn from tambiolo, the crowd broke into thunderous applause and began milling around the lucky beneficiary to congratulate him.
The atmosphere then turned festive as the qualified beneficiaries clapped their hands and broke into cheers every time a name was called from the tambiolo.
The beneficiaries whose names were called then proceeded to a pre-designated area where they were issued a Lot Allocation Certificate, which indicates the name of the beneficiary as well as the lot number for the farm lot that has been allocated.
The Lot Allocation Certificate of qualified beneficiaries who were not present and who did not send a representative will be kept, in the meantime, by the DAR. The beneficiary concerned can later claim his Lot Allocation Certificate at the DAR Provincial Office in Tarlac City.
After receiving his Lot Allocation Certificate, the agrarian reform beneficiaries were given an orientation on his rights and obligations with respect to his CARP-awarded land.
The beneficiary then read and signed the Application to Purchase and Farmers’ Undertaking (APFU). The APFU was subscribed and sworn to, free of charge, before a DAR officer authorized to administer oaths under pertinent DAR guidelines.
During the process, the DAR officials stressed that the APFU is a mandatory requirement for the generation and registration of the beneficiary’s Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), the title to be given to the beneficiary for his CARP-awarded land.
“We have to remind our beneficiaries: only those who signed the APFU will be given land,” Delos Reyes pointed out.
He said the results of the lot allocation activities will be posted in each barangay and municipality covered by Hacienda Luisita as well as at the DAR-Tarlac Provincial Office.
After the lot allocation process, Delos Reyes explained that the DAR would generate the Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) using the Lot Allocation Certificates and other pertinent documents including the APFU signed by the beneficiaries.
The CLOAs will then be forwarded to the Register of Deeds for registration and eventual distribution to beneficiaries. The distribution of registered CLOAs is expected to take place between August and September this year.
The DAR has identified more than 6,000 farmworkers who are qualified to become agrarian reform beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita.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.
An additional 400.87 hectares will also be acquired under the CARP but will not be distributed, as these will be used as common areas, such as firebreaks which will also serve as access roads to the farmlots of the beneficiaries, fishponds, canals, roads, etc.
The lot allocation activities for the qualified beneficiaries in other barangays are scheduled as follows: Lourdes (July 22 & 23); Bantog (July 25 & 26); Asturias (July 29 & 30); Motrico (Aug. 1 & 2); Pando (Aug. 5 & 6); Mabilog (Aug. 8 & 9); Parang (Aug. 12 & 13); Balete (Aug. 15 & 16); and Mapalacsiao (Aug. 19, 20 & 21).