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Another farmer shot dead in Arakan, North Cotabato

news national 4 pix 1 feb 20 2017Another farmer-activist was shot dead yesterday, February 19, in Barangay Elustre, Roxas town in the contested 4,124 hectares reservation area of the University of the Southern Mindanao (USM) in Arakan, North Cotabato.

The victim was identified as Willerme Algorde, auditor, of a local farmers group Mailuminado Farmers’ Association Incorporated (Mafai). Reports said Algorde was sitting in front of his son's store when fired upon by motorcycle riding men at around 6 in the evening. Algorde is the third farmer killed this 2017.

Agrarian reform Secretary Rafael Mariano condemned the killing as he directed DAR region 12 office to come up with measures to immediately settle land row problem in Arakan. 

Mafai members from five villages in Arakan on December 8, 2016, held a protest and camped outside the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology (CFCST) to seek the immediate distribution of their farmland, which is estimated to be 4,124 hectares. 

The farmland is a part of the 5,091 hectares declared as a reservation area for the Mindanao Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of the Southern Mindanao (USM). President Carlos Garcia declared the area on July 24, 1954 through a Presidential Declaration 428. Republic Act 3801 allotted 1,000 hectares from 5,091 hectares for Children’s Education Foundation Village, where the CFCST now stands, on July 22, 1963. 

DAR Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano has assured the farmers of the Arakan municipality that the unused portion of agricultural lands previously covered by the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) reservation will be awarded to its actual tillers and occupants.

Mariano, in a letter dated Dec. 16, 2016 cited Executive Order No. 407, Series of 1990 (EO 407) and Executive Order No. 448, Series of 1991 (EO 448) as bases for the immediate execution of the Deeds of Transfer.

In a joint board meeting last February 9, held at Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Executive Lounge, U.P. Campus, Diliman, Quezon City with the Board of Regents of the USM and the Board of Trustees of CFCST, where the key officials from the DAR, CFCST, CHED, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and local government units (LGUs) both agreed to come up with a solution for the possible distribution of the reserved property to the Arakan farmers.

The meeting was held to resolve the issue on the immediate distribution of the 5,018.3697 hectares of USM and CFCST reservation land to the 2,110 potential farmer beneficiaries in Arakan, North Cotabato.

Commissioner, CHED/Chair-Designate Ronald L. Adamat, USM President Dr. Francisco Gil Garcia and members of the Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees agreed to distribute the unused land of the university to its farmer-occupants as long as the Indigenous people are considered.

Director III Marion Y. Abella assured that the DAR will coordinate with the Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee, Barangay- Local Government Units (LGU), Municipal LGU of Arakan, North Cotabato  and Civil Society Organizations  within the affected barangay and municipality to settle the issue.

Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act 6657, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law as amended by Republic Act 9007, or the CARP-Extension with Reform, the farmers claimed that they are entitled to own the lands under the government’s land transfer program.

#DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #PartnerForChange


DAR conducts dialogue with B’laan tribal leaders

news reg 3 pix 1 feb. 20 2017 The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently conducted a dialogue with the representatives of the B’laan clans to clarify issues on the proposed DAR settlement project in Tampakan and Tupi, South Cotabato.


DAR Undersecretary for Finance, Planning and Administration Office (FPAO) Atty. David D. Erro said the clan filed a complaint before the Office of the DAR Secretary (OSEC) to cancel certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) because they claim that the areas are ancestral lands and is part of the ancestral domain of the B'laan Indigenous Cultural Communities.

Erro assured the clans that they will be apprised of the development of their claims and meet again to finalize the details of the case.news reg 3 pix 2 feb. 20 2017


"We only want the future generation of our clans to benefit from the land we inherited from our ancestors,” said Bai Dalena Samling, chieftain of the Danlag tribal council of B’laan clans of Tampakan.

On March 29, 1983, by Virtue of Proclamation No. 2282, a proposed DAR Settlement Project within the Municipality of Tampakan was promulgated. The barangays covered were: Danlag, Tablu, Pula Bato, Palo 19, portions of Lampitak and portions of barangay Cacub of Koronadal.

Right after the B’laan clans of Tampakan, the DAR also had a dialogue with the 14 B’laan clans of Tupi led by Fulong/Ptr. Pony G. Dawang and other clan leaders over 14 CLOAs awarded to the Dolefil Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (DARBC) based in Brgy. Cannery Site, Polomolok.

Same as that of the B’laan clans of Tampakan, the 14 B’laan clans of Tupi also claim part of the land awarded to DARBC as ancestral domain.

news reg 3 pix 3 feb. 20 2017“We are willing for a compromise agreement to be set among our clans and DARBC that will be beneficial to all, especially to our children”, said Dawang.

The negotiation was led by the DAR Undersecretary for Finance, Planning and Administration Office (FPAO) Atty. David D. Erro, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Regional Director Woy Lim P. Wong, NCIP provincial officer Myrna Garcia and DAR South Cotabato provincial agrarian reform officer H. Roldan A. Ali.  (Kathleen S. Pagayon)

#DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #PartnerForChange

DAR guarantees land to Arakan farmers

news reg 2 pix 1 dec. 23 2016ARAKAN, COTABATO (Dec. 23) – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has assured the farmers of the Arakan municipality that the unused portion of agricultural lands previously covered by the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) reservation will be awarded to its actual tillers and occupants.

In a letter sent by DAR Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano dated Dec. 16, the agrarian reform chief cited Executive Order No. 407, Series of 1990 (EO 407) and Executive Order No. 448, Series of 1991 (EO 448) as bases for the immediate execution of the Deeds of Transfer.

The DAR, led by Undersecretary for Field Operations Marcos Risonar, is set to meet with Regional Director Nasser Mussali, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Marion Abella, and officials of the USM and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on January 9, 2017 to formally discuss the transfer of lands from the USM to the farmers.

Based on the report by PARPO Abella, USM President Francisco Garcia has already agreed to distribute the unused land of the university to its farmer-occupants.

In his visit at the farmers’ camp inside the USM grounds last Dec. 11, DAR Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Lucius Jun-jun Malsi already guaranteed the immediate and lawful resolution of the protesting farmers’ case.

“Ang kahilingan at hinaing ng mga magsasaka ay may legal na batayan. Ito ay marapat na maibahagi na sa mga magsasaka kung ito ay naaayon sa batas,” Malsi said.

Data from the DAR reveal that a total of 3,277.8 hectares of land in the USM reservation remain unused. Farmer-occupants of the MAILUMINADO Farmers Association, Inc. (MAFAI) have been engaged in a protracted struggle for land ownership ever since former President Carlos Garcia allotted some 7,200-hectare land as reservation for the university through Presidential Proclamation No. 428 in 1957.

Around 3,000 farmers and members of support groups set up a two-week camp in the Arakan campus from Dec. 5 to 18 to demand the distribution of the disputed land. The petitioners are members of the MAFAI and settlers of barangays Malibatuan, Ilustre, Makalangot, Naje and Doruloman, collectively known as MAILUMINADO.

According to MAFAI Chairman Cecilio Carmelo, the land has been peacefully occupied by Lumad and Christian settlers long before the Arakan town was established. Its occupants have been cultivating and farming rice, corn, rubber and banana since the 1950s.

“Panawagan namin kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte at kay DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano na kagyat na bigyan na ng kalutasan ‘yung hinihiling ng mga tao na resolbahin na ang aming problema sa lupa,” Carmelo said.

MAFAI said that they will be back at the USM grounds to set up camp again in January.

Mariano told the farmers to strengthen their ranks and continuously assert their rights. “Susi ng tagumpay ang sama-sama’t organisadong pagkilos kaakibat ang pagtulong ng kagawaran na may pagtalima sa kaukulang proseso ng batas,” he added.


PARCCOM submits resolution to pass GARB, declares support for Mariano’s appointment

news reg 1 pix 1 dec. 7 2016GENERAL SANTOS CITY, December 07, 2016 – The Provincial Agrarian Reform Coordinating Committee (PARCCOM) chairpersons submitted two resolutions to Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano during the National Conference of PARCCOMs at the Greenleaf Hotel.

Serving as the leading committee in the coordination and implementation of the agrarian reform program in the provinces, the PARCCOMs decided to prioritize the passage of a genuine agrarian reform program in the country.

Resolution No. 1, Series of 2016, entitled “A resolution strongly supporting the immediate passage of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (House Bill No. 555),” recognizes the absence of a genuine agrarian reform program as the primary reason for the continuing poverty and lack of food security. Members of the committee believe that the passage of HB 555 will help attain rural development and economic growth in the countryside.

Under the proposed bill, agricultural lands shall be distributed to qualified farmers for free. It shall revoke all previous unjust decrees on exemption and exclusion, and break up land monopoly. The GARB also seeks to institutionalize a comprehensive program of state support and subsidy to farmer beneficiaries.

On the other hand, the PARCCOM also declared their support for Mariano as the agrarian reform chief and vice chairperson of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) by passing the second resolution entitled “A resolution supporting the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments (CA) of Rafael V. Mariano as Secretary of the DAR.”news reg 1 pix 2 dec. 7 2016

The chairpersons added that the present leadership of Mariano at the DAR benefits the farmers and other stakeholders because of the thrust and policy direction of his administration – to defend and assert the rights of farmers.

In his first 100 days as agrarian reform chief, Mariano has rallied the support of President Rodrigo Duterte to convene the PARC after more than a decade of inactivity, announced a two-year moratorium on land-use conversion, distributed hundreds of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), and organized continuing dialogues with farmers and farmworkers’ groups.

The two resolutions will be submitted to the Committee on Agrarian Reform of the House of Representatives and the CA for immediate consideration. The GARB has been initially filed during the 14th Congress while Mariano has been waiting for his official appointment since he assumed office last July.


Region XII News

news national 4 pix 1 feb 20 2017
February 20, 2017 14

Another farmer shot dead in Arakan, North Cotabato

Another farmer-activist was shot dead yesterday, February 19, in Barangay Elustre, Roxas town in the contested 4,124 hectares reservation area of the University of the Southern Mindanao (USM) in Arakan, North Cotabato.The victim was identified as Willerme… Read More..
news reg 3 pix 1 feb. 20 2017
Feb 20, 2017 12

DAR conducts dialogue with B’laan tribal leaders

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently conducted a dialogue with the representatives of the B’laan clans to clarify issues on the proposed DAR settlement project in Tampakan and Tupi, South Cotabato.
DAR Undersecretary for Finance, Planning and… Read More..
news reg 2 pix 1 dec. 23 2016
Dec 23, 2016 113

DAR guarantees land to Arakan farmers

ARAKAN, COTABATO (Dec. 23) – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has assured the farmers of the Arakan municipality that the unused portion of agricultural lands previously covered by the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) reservation will be awarded… Read More..
news reg 1 pix 1 dec. 7 2016
Dec 07, 2016 114

PARCCOM submits resolution to pass GARB, declares support…

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, December 07, 2016 – The Provincial Agrarian Reform Coordinating Committee (PARCCOM) chairpersons submitted two resolutions to Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano during the National Conference of… Read More..