QUEZON CITY, Sept. 28 - Agrarian Secretary Rafael Mariano has ordered the DAR field operations and legal officials to coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to fast-track the process of transfering to the DAR the Yulo King Ranch (YKR) in Coron, Palawan for distribution to farmer-beneficiaries.
Mariano has instructed DAR Undersecretary for Field Operations Marcos Risonar and Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Elmer Distor to coordinate with the DENR to find out the facts on the petitions of farmer groups in the Yulo lands.
Mariano said the YKR property is a vast track of land consisting of around 40,000 hectares under the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the DENR. Within the YKR are some 8,000 hectares, more or less, which are alienable and disposable public lands (A and D) subject of request for coverage under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by PESANTE Pilipinas, Inc. and several other groups like the Federation of Free Farmers, KAMPI, KASAMA-TK and other local groups in Palawan.
“According to our documents, the more or less 8,000 hectares of Yulo lands that are subject for petitions by various farmer groups were not yet turned over to the DAR by the DENR. Therefore, the lands remain to be under the jurisdiction of the FMB of the DENR,” said Mariano.
“Although these A&D public lands can be the subject of future coverage under the CARP, it has to be first turned over to the DAR by the DENR through a Deed of Transfer and Memorandum of Agreement,” explained Mariano.
“The DAR is now looking into this matter. Rest assured, we will do our part to hasten the processes so that the land will finally be distributed to farmers,” Mariano said.
The YKR came into focus when Arnel Figueroa, a leader of farmer-group PESANTE in Coron was shot dead on Tuesday by Dennis Mayo, a security guard of the BAI. Reports said Mayo and several government personnel escorted by four Marines started uprooting crops the farmers have planted. Figueroa attempted to talk to them, but Mayo shot him at pointblank range which caused his death. (DAR).