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DAR head office team to mediate coop dispute

visayan dailyPersonnel from the central office of the Department of Agrarian Reform are coming to Negros Occidental on February 8 to mediatein the case between the ECJ Farm Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative and the ECJ CLOA Holders Association that has already reached the office of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council in Malacañang. Sheriff Samuel Robles, of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator's Office and clerk of the Board, said yesterday that the hearing on the extension of the status quo order was rescheduled to wait for the officials from DAR Central Office to mediate.

This is the case involving revocation of the contract by the 510 ECHA members with the management of Southern Negros Joint Ventures Contract, the corporation that the coop created after they signed a joint venture with the Cojuangco group.

He said another issue that arose from the disagreement over the alleged disadvantageous equity sharing in the subsequent illegal signing of lease and management service contract with Mike Hinojales, was the illegal entry of the ECHAgroup starting August of last year in Hacienda Caridad in San Enrique which has added 5 haciendas of Soledad in Pontevedra, Balatong in Isabela, Neva in Himamaylan and Adelina and Fe in La Carlota.

Robles said they had conducted an ocular inspection onJanuary 25 of the 600 hectare area alleged to have been occupied by the ECHA group without securing a DAR clearance as charged by the coop management.

However, on January 28 even with the issuance of the second status quo order, the coop management, in their affidavit, entered the haciendas of Balatong, Soledad, Caridad, Fe and Adelina with a police group from the Negros Occidental Police Office.

Ma. Cecilia Maquerang, legal counsel for ECHA, said they have a pending motion for contempt, for violation ofthe status quo order by the EFARBEMCO group. She said they have attached documents and blotters indicating report of harassments, arson for burning of the properties, and robbery.

Maquirang said they also have pictures to prove that there were indeed 2 police vehicles carrying policemen. “Police are only required when there is violence and they are supposed to be on the neutral side”, she said.

The decision of the PARC will answer question on the legality of the entrance of the third party without the consent and knowledge of the members, she said. Although the people have opted for the corporative scheme, the sense of control must be given to the farmers, she added.

Under the current set up, there is a 70/30 share on the production equity, 30 being for the coop with 1,700 members and 70 percent for the Cojuangco group. The farmers reported that they were only given P10,000 per year as advance dividends which when divided for the days of the year equals to P27 per day, she added.

From the very start, the farmers are in the disadvantaged side. The lease was not mentioned in the contract and a third of the people sitting on the board come from the group of Cojuangco, she added.*

Source: http://www.visayandailystar.com/2017/February/01/businessnews1.htm

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