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Expedite efforts to resolve Cojuangco land issue, farmer-coops urged

sunstarBacolodTHE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Negros Occidental urged two farmer-cooperatives to immediately comply with the requirements needed to resolve the petition to revoke their joint venture agreement (JVA) involving 4,654-hectare farms formerly owned by business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Lucrecia Taberna yesterday said they have already summoned the Southern Negros Joint Venture Corporation (SNJVC) and Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. Farm Beneficiaries Cooperative (Efarbemco) and asked them submit their answers supported by pertinent documents to the petition filed by the group of Noel Magan, chairman of ECJ Cloa Holders Association.

This was first announced by DAR-Negros Occidental South to about 400 farmer-members of ECJ Cloa Holders Association in a dialogue held at Hacienda Candelaria in Pontevedra town on Monday.

Taberna said the pertinent documents required from the two groups are needed for their office to submit a final recommendation, which will serve as the basis of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to resolve the said petition.

Under the corporative scheme, agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) during the Estrada administration entered into a joint venture with Cojuangco, who capitalized on the land that was voluntarily transferred to farmer-beneficiaries through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp).

These 4,654-hectare farms covered 1,756 ARBs in seven local government units (LGUs) in the province, including the cities of Himamaylan, La Carlota and Bago, and towns of Pontevedra, Hinigaran, La Castellana, and Isabela.

Taberna said that once the management can comply with the needed documents, the Provincial Task Force Agribusiness Venture Agreement (AVA) will convene pursuant to the provision of Administrative Order No. 9 Series of 2006, and formulate its final and official recommendation to be submitted to National AVA Evaluation Committee (NAEC).

“The NAEC will then review and evaluate the said recommendation on the petition for cancellation or revocation of the agreement. It will then submit its report to PARC which will be the basis of the latter to come up with its resolution,” she added.

The summon was given to SNJVC and Efarbemco during the September 19 dialogue. They were given 15 days to submit their answers to the said petition supported with pieces of evidence.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, during his recent visit to Bacolod City, said they are continuously monitoring and conducting an investigation to determine if there are really violations in the corporative scheme of the Cojuangco farms.

Based on the petition filed before the DAR, the ECJ Cloa Holders Association pushed for the cancellation or revocation of the JVA because of the alleged failure of the management to comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in the contract.

These include non-compliance with the P10, 000 annual dividends, 70-30 share of stock, and stable jobs for the members, it added.

Source: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/bacolod/local-news/2016/09/23/expedite-efforts-resolve-cojuangco-land-issue-farmer-coops-urged









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