Assistant Secretary Teofilo Inocencio of the Department of Agrarian Reform assured immediate resolution to the claim of the National Federation of Sugar Workers that the land where the Negros First Ranch is located in Murcia town is covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
DAR Region 6 Assistant Director Florentino Seladan yesterday said Inocencio made the assurance during his visit in Negros Occidental last week, although no one from the national office of the agency has come to the province to investigate the complaint.
NFSW secretary general John Lozande said that the farmers had filed a petition for Hacienda Ilimnan to be covered by the CARP in 1993 yet, but, of the 155 hectares covered only 54 have been distributed so far.
However, Maritess Mabunay, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer for northern Negros Occidental, said DAR had released a notice covering the area in Hacienda Ilimnan under CARP in 2012 although, on the same year, the provincial government filed a petition for exemption from coverage.
Mabunay said the petition is still being evaluated by the Center for Land Use Planning and Implementation of the DAR national office.
Meanwhile, Seladan said they are optimistic that DAR Negros Occidental will exceed its target of distributing 26,100 hectares of land.
Of the 26,100 hectares, 14,600 are in northern Negros Occidental, while 11,500 hectares are in southern Negros Occidental, he said.
Seladan said 2014 is a promising year for DAR, especially with the hiring of 791 new personnel to address the manpower problem.
As for land distribution last year, DAR in Negros Occidental was able to distribute 5,500 hectares to ARBs, he said. (BY ADRIAN NEMES III*APN)