Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano fulfilled his promise to go after landlords as he denied for lack of merit the Application for Exclusion filed by the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental (“PGNO”), represented by Governor Alfredo G. Marañon, Jr., involving two (2) parcels of land with an aggregate area of 147.2865 hectares, more or less, located in Barangays Sta. Rosa and Canlandog, Municipality of Murcia, Province of Negros Occidental.
Negros Occidental is not only the sugar bowl and city of smiles. It is also the ‘bastion of hacienda”, Mariano said.
On May 10, 2016, DAR through then Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes already denied said application for exclusion filed by the PGNO. The latter then filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the May 10, 2016 DAR decision. On August 17, 2016, Secretary Mariano, the newly appointed DAR Secretary affirmed the May 10, 2016 decision and denied for lack of merit PGNO’s motion.
Mariano in effect affirmed DARCO Order No. EXE-1605-124 which ordered the coverage and distribution of:
(a) Lot No. 1 consisting an area of fifty (50.000) hectares, more or less, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-091-2012000118 purchased from George C. Arguelles on 30 March 2012; and
(b) Lot No. 3 covered by TCT No. T-105292, with an area of 97.2865 hectares, more or less, purchased from the Heirs of Alfonso Arguelles, Heirs of Rosalina Exaltado, Heirs of Alicia Arguelles, Lydia Arguelles and Fernando Arguelles on 29 December 2010.
Mariano said the PNGO did not dispute the fact that before June 15, 1988 and until the year 2010, when it bought 97.2865 hectares of Lot 3 from the Heirs of Alfonso Arguilles, and in 2012, when it bought Lot 1 from George Arguelles, the said parcels of land were not anymore used for cattle raising.
DAR records showed that before June 15, 1988 and until 2010 or 2012, the land ceased to be used for cattle raising. Hence, they can be and were rightfully placed under the coverage of CARP.
PARPO Teresita Mabunay’s report, remains undisputed, George Arguelles voluntarily offered to sell Lot No. 1 with the DARMO of Murcia, Negros Occidental. As a result, DARMO conducted preliminary activities to cover said lot up to the point where the Claim Folders (CF) was forwarded to the DARPO for processing and documentation.
On the other hand, before the sale, 58.0574 hectare portion of Lot 3 had already been covered and were issued CLOAs.
These facts merely show that subject lands are proper subject of coverage, Mariano said.
"While may be true that it now devotes the parcels of land purchased from Arguelles Family for public use and purpose, the implementation of CARP, is also for public use and purpose," he added.
Mariano issued the order in response to the complaints of farmers against Marañon Jr. on the alleged unjust eviction of farmers to “develop” the area into the Negros First Ranch livestock farm.
Farmers claimed Gov. Maranon allegedly resorted to harassment and intimidation using government troops after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued a decision in favor of the farmers.
Since July 15,members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng PIlipinas (KMP) in Negros and the Hacienda Ilimnan Farmworkers Association-National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW)-UMA staged a peasant camp-out at the Provincial Government compound to protest against harassment and unjust eviction of farmers.
Farmworkers embarked on land cultivation of around 12 hectares in Ilimnan for food crops to ease extreme hunger and poverty in the community due to the annual tiempo muerto or off-milling season. This year’s tiempo muerto is aggravated by drought caused by El Nino.
The 12-hectare area is part of a 155-hectare property formerly owned by the Arguelles family who sold the land to the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental in 2010.