MORE than 300 beneficiaries have been installed in four barangays in Hacienda Luisita, the former sugar estate of the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Tarlac, as part of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reform (CARPer), an official of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said on Tuesday.
Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao said the farmers were installed two weeks ago in barangays Mapalacsiao and Cutcut in Tarlac City, Barangay Parang in Concepcion and Barangay Motrico in La Paz more than two weeks ago.
More beneficiaries for Hacienda Luisita will be installed this week, he said.
“We did this small scale for the meantime and without fanfare or media coverage because we wanted to test the process in order to see how we can improve on it in preparation for the massive installation to be done shortly,” he said.
In addition, Parungao said that around 1,500 farm lots have been marked with boundary markers, or mojons so far.
The official earlier said around 10 teams of surveyors from FF Cruz and Co. are working double time to place the monuments within the 4,009-hectare lands distributed by the DAR to the 6,212 beneficiaries.
The DAR officials, who have been the subject of attacks by some quarters, including Catholic bishops and agrarian-reform advocates, for alleged lackluster performance in distributing lands, earlier explained that the lands left for distribution under Republic Act 9700, or the CARPer law, are mostly private agricultural lands, some of which are considered “problematic” because of missing land titles or records in the Registry of Deeds, or conflicting land classification.
They also denied allegations that the family of President Aquino received more than what it should for the total 4,335 hectares acquired by the DAR in compliance with a Supreme Court order mandating the agency to immediately distribute land to qualified farmer-beneficiaries in lieu of the failed stock-distribution option implemented by Hacienda Luisita since 1989 until its revocation by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council in 2005.
Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Operations Jose Z. Grageda also belied that the agency is padding accomplishment reports to make it appear that the agency is living up to the public’s expectation in terms of land acquisition and distribution.
Farmers belonging to the Save Agrarian Reform Alliance, led by Jaime Tadeo, spokesman for the group, criticized the DAR for including the 4,009-hectare Hacienda Luisita in its 2013 LAD accomplishment report because the farmer-beneficiaries have not yet been installed in their CARP-awarded lands.
The group, which is supporting calls to extend CARP beyond June 30, 2014, is demanding for an overhaul of the agency, starting with the removal from office of Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes. The group, sources said, is lobbying for the appointment of an undersecretary in the National Anti-Poverty Commission.