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DAR surveys farmers in South Cotabato towns

piaKORONADAL CITY, South  Cotabato, Oct 7 (PIA)  -- The  Department of  Agrarian has recently embarked on a census  of  farmers in a bid  to  maintain the stability of the farmers’ rights over the lands awarded to them through agrarian reform  program.

A report from DAR South Cotabato  Provincial Office  said the  survey  covered   farmers, farm workers and others  in  Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-awarded  National Development Corp. (NDC)  lands  in nearby  towns of Tupi and Polomolok.

Same  report  emphasized the  survey  is intended to reinforce the rights of the  beneficiaries of  two  collective  Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) distributed in 1988 by then President Corazon C. Aquino.

Maribeth Hababag,  Polomolok municipal agrarian reform program officer said, “the census is conducted by interviewing agrarian reform beneficiaries, farmers and farmworkers who were employees of Dole Philippines Inc. when the CARP was enacted in 1988, during which the two CLOAs were distributed.”

According to DAR South Cotabato,  said  survey came  after  issuance of an  interlocutory  order by DAR Secretary Virgilio  delos Reyes, to  conduct a census to finally stabilize the farmers’ rights to lands distributed to them under CARP. 

This  following an increasing number of  cases, issues and  petitions  pertaining to the lands  formerly  owned  by the NDC.

In 1988, NDC turned over to DAR a total of 8,937 hectares of land to be covered under CARP.

Two collective CLOAs were then distributed to cover these lands and named 7,535 farmworkers as beneficiaries included in the masterlist.

These beneficiaries formed an organization named the Dolefil Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative Inc. (DARBCI) to oversee and manage the lands covered by the CLOAs.

In that same year, DARBCI and Dole signed a Land Use Partnership Agreement (LUPA) in which it was stated that DARBCI handed over to Dole their right to manage their awarded lands in exchange for rental fees and a portion of the income Dole earns from farming their land.

Since then, issues have arisen which made way to cases and petitions filed by groups against the DARBCI.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Felix  Frias said that these issues include identification and validation of beneficiaries based on the processes and guidelines when the CLOAs were distributed as well as identification of beneficiaries who are now deceased, naming their family as heirs.

Frias added that petitions by some members and indigenous peoples’ groupsto segregate the land that according to them is theirs is also another issue that needs resolving.

“The census aims to gather pertinent information and data that will help resolve said issues,” Frias said.

The census started last September 7, 2015 and will last until November 27, during which time, the consolidated data will be delivered to the DAR Central Office to hasten resolution of cases, issues and petitions in the court as well as in the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB). (DEDoguiles-PIA12  with report from KSespene-DAR-South Cotabato)

Source: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/1611444191916/dar-surveys-farmers-in-south-cotabato-towns

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