Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” V. Mariano today gave orders to DAR officers in Region XI “to secure police and/or military assistance in ensuring the peaceful, orderly and effective installation of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) that have claimed lands awarded to them in Tagum, Davao del Norte.”
Mariano specifically commanded the Sheriff of DAR Regional Office No. XI, the Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer of DAR Provincial Office-Davao Del Norte, and the Provincial Director of Davao Del Norte Police Office to proceed with the installation of Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (MARBAI) members in the 145-hectare San Isidro (Sanid) Farm.
The DAR had earlier issued a writ of installation allowing members of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (MARBAI) to claim lands awarded to them in the 145-hectare San Isidro (SANID) farm area.
"The Provincial Director of Davao del Norte Police Office is deputized to assist DAR in the enforcement and implementation of the writ of installation,” Mariano said.
The San Isidro Farm is inside the lands operated by the Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC).
Mariano said the area claimed by the members of MARBAI is an awarded land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
As such, MARBAI members—being agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs)— have the right to possession, pursuant to Section 108 of DAR Administrative Order (AO) no. 7, Series of 2011.
Section 108 states that: “As owner/s of awarded lands under CARP, the ARB/s shall take possession of the land covered by his/her/their titles from the time the same is awarded to them through a registered CLOA.”
Mariano added, however, that MARBAI chairperson Mely Yu petitioned the DAR on December 9, 2016 for an “extremely urgent request for intervention” because “LFC officers, employees or persons have subjected MARBAI members to forced eviction, harrassment, and attacks.”
DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano issued a cease and desist order (CDO) to LFC last December 14, 2016, following the tension between Lapanday and MARBAI members which led to the shooting of 10 farmers by LFC security personnel.
“The LFC has been impeding and frustrating the mandate of the DAR under Section 4, Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution,” Mariano said.
He stressed that under Section 4, “the State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the rights of farmers and regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage and undertake the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to such priorities and reasonable retention limits as the Congress may prescribe, taking into account ecological, developmental, or equity considerations, and subject to the payment of just compensation. In determining retention limit, the State shall respect the rights of small landowners. The State shall further provide incentives for voluntary land-sharing.”
Mariano added that Section 4 also states that the State (in this case, the DAR), shall not be bound by technical rules of procedure and evidence but shall proceed to hear and decide all cases, disputes or controversies in a most expeditious manner, employing all reasonable means to ascertain the facts of every case in accordance to justice and equity and the merits of the case. Toward this end, it shall adopt a uniform rule of procedure to achieve a just, expeditious, and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding before it.”
The DAR Secretary further said that in cases where the taking of possession of awarded lands would imperil or endanger the lives of the ARBs, as in the situation faced by MARBAI members, “the DAR shall assume responsibility for the installation of ARBs.”
To this effect, Mariano cited the Writ of Installation or Section 109 of AO 07-11 which states that, “in case of taking possession of awarded lands by ARBs would imperil or endanger their lives, the DAR shall assume responsibility for the installation of the ARBs on the subject land with the assistance of the police or military until they are settled and in constructive and physical control of the property.”
He added that under the amended provisions of Section 50 of Republic Act (RA) no. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), “DAR is vested with primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform.”
“The Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) may issue a Writ of Installation directing the Sheriff of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) or the Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (RARAD) who has jurisdiction over the landholding, alone or with the assistance of the police or military, to conduct all necessary lawful acts to physically install the ARBs on the subject landholding,” he explained.
Mariano further said that “in case the installation activities would necessitate of the provision of police and/or military forces to assist the Sheriff, the PARO shall coordinate the said activities with the Department of National Defense-Armed Forces of the Philippines (DND-AFP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government-Philippine National Police (DILG-PNP), pursuant to the existing guidelines per Memorandum of Agreement executed by the DAR, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of National Defense (DND).”
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