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Hacienda Luisita farmers confer with Mariano and his officials

news reg 1 pix 1 feb. 15 2017TARLAC CITY (Feb. 15, 2017)—Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano directed the department’s field operations office to conduct validation of farmer-beneficiaries and the [DAR] regional office to give farmers free legal advice and to take the necessary steps in resolving problems in agrarian matters.

Mariano promised to look into all of their concerns on agrarian matters. “The doors of the department are open for you. We will hear your problems on land and farming and provide support services to increase tour productivity,” Mariano said.

In a dialogue conducted by the DAR conducted yesterday, more than 200 farmers in Barangay Balete aired their issues and concerns to the Secretary and his officials on agrarian land problems and to ask for support services in tilling their awarded lands.

Undersecretary for field operations Marcos Risonar Jr. said they will start conducting the validation process of the beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita this March.

“The validation process is our initial step towards resolving the various issues confronting the 10 barangays of Luisita and its beneficiaries. This process would also determine the lands for distribution and the number of potential beneficiaries,” said Risonar.

Risonar said the validation process involves interviews with farmer-beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries. “Upon interviewing, the farmers should present their proof of identity and proof of relationship with the Hacienda Luisita Inc. and the ARB-cooperatives,” Risonar said.news reg 1 pix 2 feb. 15 2017

“However, we would like to stress that the interview is just part of the gathering of information stage. The qualification of the agrarian reform beneficiaries is a long process but we will do our best to speed things up,” said Risonar.

The farmers, who are mostly sugarcane farmers and farmworkers, also asked for fertilizers, farm machines, access to loan, irrigation, farm trainings, modern farm technology, farm tractors, medical support, seeds, and livelihood projects.

Undersecretary for support services Rosalina Bistoyong assured the farmers that the department has lined up projects and programs to help them in their farming needs.

She said under the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support (ARCCESS), 10 farm tractors would be given to them to ensure the productivity of their lands.

“Before the month of March ends, 10 farm tractors will be turned over to your agrarian cooperatives. It is important that you are a member of agrarian reform beneficiary organization (ARBOs) to be able to use the tractors,” Bistoyong said. 

“You can also avail of credit assistance through the agrarian production credit program (APCP) of the DAR with the Land Bank,” said Bistoyong.

news reg 1 pix 3 feb. 15 2017She said under the APCP, ARB household members, particularly those who have recently acquired their landholdings through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) will be provided with loans for crop production.  These loans will be coursed through ARB organizations and farmer organizations (other than ARBOs) that shall act as credit conduits for their respective members.

Bistoyong encouraged the farmers to be a member of farmers’ organizations. She stressed the importance of organizing themselves into ARBOs for faster flow of support services.

“The DAR would be able to help more of you if you are organized into bona fide farmers’ cooperatives. Through your cooperative, projects and programs of the Department like access to credit and livelihood programs will be available for you,” Bistoyong said.

Mariano and his officials was in Tarlac to distribute certificates of land ownership awards to 111 farmers of Hacienda Luisita. (pinky roque)

Photo 1:  Secretary Rafael Mariano

Photo 2:  Undersecretary for field operations Marcos Risonar Jr.

Photo 3:  Undersecretary for support services Rosalina Bistoyong

#DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #PartnerForChange








Mariano sends love to farmers with CLOAs on hearts day

news reg 1 pix 1 feb. 14 2017TARLAC CITY, Feb. 14 – Smiles, hugs and love set the scene at the Balete Covered Court on Valentine’s day after agrarian reform chief Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano, along with other Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) officials, distributed certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to 111 farmers of Hacienda Luisita.

For almost four years, the latest recipients of land titles have been continuously pushed out of their farms after being disqualified in the agrarian reform program for refusing to sign the Application to Purchase and Farmers’ Undertaking (APFU).

According to Mariano, the APFU should not be a ground for disqualifying an individual as beneficiary of land reform. Two weeks ago, DAR released Administrative Order (AO) 1 suspending the guidelines that require farmer-beneficiaries to sign the said document.

In addition, the Secretary announced to uphold the 2012 Supreme Court ruling to install agrarian reform beneficiaries to the sprawling sugar plantation following the recent dialogue with Hacienda Luisita farmers. The 111 farmers will each receive 6,600 square meters of allocated land located in the Asturias, Bantog, Cut-cut, Mabilog, Mapalacsiao, Motrico, Pando and Parang areas according to Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer (PARPO) Ileona Pangilinan.

“Ikinararangal po natin at buong pagpapakumbabang loob nating aangkinin ang laban ng mga manggagawang bukid sa Hacienda Luisita,” he added.

Mariano, who was a representative of the Anakpawis Partylist in the 15th Congress, has been defending and asserting the rights of the Hacienda Luisita farmers ever since his days with peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

Support services for all

Results of the survey done by DAR employees during the CLOA distribution say that majority of the new landowners are in need of state-sponsored services. Among these are seedlings, facilities, machineries, livelihood trainings, capital support and irrigation.news reg 1 pix 2 feb. 14 2017

PARPO Pangilinan led the ceremonial turnover of seedlings to the farmer-beneficiaries. The seeds, valued at Php 300,000, were donated by the local unit of the Department of Agriculture.

Undersecretary Rosalina Bistoyong also promised 10 tractors for the 10 barangays of the hacienda to ensure the productivity of the awarded lands and the improvement of the lives of farmers. Reports received by DAR show that a number of farmers belonging to the 111 CLOA recipients have been disenfranchised by the rampant ‘aryendo’ or lease-back system by “opportunists” in the hacienda.

“Malaking hamon ngayon sa mga naiposisyon na pagtulung-tulungan ang pag-ahon sa mga kapwa agrarian reform beneficiaries mula sa sistema ng aryendo,” Mariano said. In his visit to the hacienda last October 2016, the agrarian reform chief announced that DAR will definitely press charges against the ‘aryendadors’ who coerce, lure and swindle beneficiaries into this scheme.

Governor Susan Yap assured the farmers that the provincial government of Tarlac will mobilize its offices to ensure that support services will be provide to the farmers.

Justice for the martyrs

Around 1,000 farmers of the sprawling Tarlac estate witnessed the historic distribution of CLOAs to those who were previously disqualified from the agrarian reform program.

Florida Sibayan, veteran farmer leader and Chairperson of local farmworkers’ organization Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA), is among the beneficiaries who received a CLOA. According to her, agrarian struggle in the disputed land took a step forward, however, justice remains to be served for all the victims of human rights abuses in the hacienda.

news reg 1 pix 3 feb. 14 2017“Lupa, kapayapaan at hustisya ang aming hiling para sa mga magsasaka ng Luisita,” Sibayan said. Thirteen years ago, seven farmers were brutally murdered when state forces opened fire at the farmers’ protest camp in front of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac.

Mariano enjoined all farmers to never cease calling for justice for the martyrs of the peasant struggle. “Palakasin at pahigpitin ang pagkakaisa ng mga magsasaka. Patuloy nating ikampanya ang paghahanap ng hustisya para sa mga nagbuwis ng buhay sa makauring pakikibaka ng mga magbubukid ng Hacienda Luisita,” he added.

Other officials present in the activity are Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Lucius Malsi, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Luis Pañgulayan, Undersecretary for Finance Management and Administration Teresita Vistro, Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Sylvia Mallari and Undersecretary for Field Operations Marcos Risonar.

#DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #PartnerForChange


DAR chief orders probe on Luisita

news reg 2 pix 1 dec. 7  2016QUEZON CITY, Dec. 7 – Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano has ordered a team of agrarian reform officials to meet with farmer-beneficiaries on Dec. 14 to 15 to discuss the issues that arose in the past week at Hacienda Luisita.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will mediate between the opposing parties on Dec. 19 as decided upon by Mariano and other DAR officials during their meeting with Region III Director Arnel Dizon and the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officers of Tarlac last Dec. 6 at the DAR Central Office.

Mariano immediately ordered the investigation of the recent incident in the disputed land to enforce the status quo order that he issued in his first day of office last July 1. The order states that no person should commit acts leading to the dispossession of farmers presently occupying the subject landholdings regardless as to whether or not they are holders of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA).

Amid the series of protest-dialogues held at the Hacienda Luisita and the DAR since Mariano was appointed as agrarian reform chief, numerous conflicts between local farmers’ groups have been reported due to the land distribution concerns in the area.

In the dialogue between the farmers and the DAR Provincial Office in Tarlac City last Nov. 29, farmer groups have called on Mariano to resolve the dispute immediately.

“We need the cooperation and assistance of all the stakeholders and the police in implementing the DAR’s status quo order. The farmers there have continuously suffered despite the land reform programs of previous administrations. Our duty is to defend and assert their rights by keeping them on the lands they till,” Mariano declared.



DAR chief bound to implement SC decision on HLI

news reg 3 pix 1 nov. 17 2016Twelve years after the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, agrarian reform chief Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano remains determined to implement the 2012 Supreme Court (SC) ruling that ordered the Cojuangco clan to distribute the 4,335-hectare hacienda, along with a P1.3-billion payout, to 6,212 farmer beneficiaries.

Seven people were killed along with dozens injured and 112 arrested when farmers on strike were brutally dispersed in the hacienda on November 16, 2004. Countless others have died over the years as the farmers continued their fight for genuine land reform.

In the face of a four-year-old SC order and two agrarian reform laws since 1989, the Cojuangco clan continued to have a firm control over the expansive Tarlac estate.

The farmworkers’ strike over a decade ago was at the height of protest actions against the ploy of the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) to keep its workers’ wages to a low of P9.50 weekly. Over the years, state forces and goons have demolished homes and destroyed crops in order to evict long-time tillers of the disputed area.

Despite efforts of the HLI to delay implementation of the High Court’s decision, however, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) expects to push forward with the audit of the P1.3-billion worth of proceeds from previous deals made by the HLI. 

The DAR has coordinated with three auditing firms and has threatened legal action against the HLI should the corporation plan to purposely delay the proceedings again.

Delaying tactics and corporate maneuvering of the Cojuanco clan have prolonged the suffering of HLI workers, according to Mariano.

Last October, the DAR chief announced that he would not allow the disqualification of farmworker-beneficiaries rendered under the "tambiolo system," pending a complete review and investigation of land reform implementation in the hacienda.

Instead of a free and unconditional distribution of land titles to more than 6,000 farmworkers, the previous DAR administration raffled farming lots by randomly assigning the parcels of land to each beneficiary.

“The narrative of the Hacienda Luisita has been one of pain and struggle for decades. We shall end it now,” Mariano declared.

Photo: Relatives of the seven farmers killed in the Hacienda Luisita Massacre gathered at the Central Azucarera de Tarlac to pay tribute to their fallen loved ones during the commemoration of the 12th year anniversary of the massacre, November 16.

Region III News

news reg 1 pix 1 feb. 15 2017
February 15, 2017 30

Hacienda Luisita farmers confer with Mariano and his…

TARLAC CITY (Feb. 15, 2017)—Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano directed the department’s field operations office to conduct validation of farmer-beneficiaries and the [DAR] regional office to give farmers free legal advice and to… Read More..
news reg 1 pix 1 feb. 14 2017
Feb 14, 2017 936

Mariano sends love to farmers with CLOAs on hearts day

TARLAC CITY, Feb. 14 – Smiles, hugs and love set the scene at the Balete Covered Court on Valentine’s day after agrarian reform chief Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano, along with other Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) officials, distributed certificates of land… Read More..
news reg 2 pix 1 dec. 7  2016
Dec 07, 2016 103

DAR chief orders probe on Luisita

QUEZON CITY, Dec. 7 – Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano has ordered a team of agrarian reform officials to meet with farmer-beneficiaries on Dec. 14 to 15 to discuss the issues that arose in the past week at Hacienda Luisita. The Department… Read More..
news reg 3 pix 1 nov. 17 2016
Nov 17, 2016 121

DAR chief bound to implement SC decision on HLI

Twelve years after the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, agrarian reform chief Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano remains determined to implement the 2012 Supreme Court (SC) ruling that ordered the Cojuangco clan to distribute the 4,335-hectare hacienda, along with a… Read More..