Secretary in the News

May 29, 2017 3

DAR to install farmers in disputed Davao plantation May 18

MANILA — For the third time this year, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will attempt to install farmer-beneficiaries evicted from a disputed portion of a banana plantation in Tagum, Davao del Norte — this time, with a go-signal from the President and… Read More..
manilatimes 1
May 16, 2017 54

DAR mulls end to land conversion

LLANERA, Nueva Ecija: The government is planning to put an end to widespread land conversion that for years has defeated the goal to attain food self-sufficiency. Read More..
May 04, 2017 100

Mariano: DAR won’t charge farmers for selling lands

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will not sue farmers who sold or leased agrarian land they were granted in 2013 at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac province, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano said on Tuesday.The Comprehensive… Read More..
May 02, 2017 73

DAR voids illegal lease, sale of Hacienda Luisita CARP lands

MANILA, Philippines — Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano on Wednesday voided the sale and leasing out of Hacienda Luisita farm lots awarded by the government to agrarian reform beneficiaries. Read More..

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Mariano vows to distribute Palawan’s Yulo King Ranch to landless farmers

BusinessMirror-logo-300x100AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Rafael V. Mariano vowed to distribute the controversial Yulo King Ranch (YKR) to landless farmers in Coron and Busuanga in Palawan.

Mariano ordered Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Field Operations Marcos Risonar and Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Elmer Distor to coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to fast-track the process of transferring Yulo King Ranch to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

The order came in the wake of reports that a farmer-leader was shot and killed in Coron on September 20.

A certain Dante Mayo, a security guard of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), reportedly shot and killed Arnel Figueroa of the farmer group Pesante following a heated argument.

Reports said Mayo and several government personnel escorted by four Marines uprooted crops  that several farmers have planted in the area.The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), an organization which Mariano used to head as its chairman, condemned Figueroa’s killing.

Mariano said he had already asked the two DAR officials to find ways on how to expedite the distribution of the 40,000-hectare land holding under the existing agrarian-reform law.

The YKR property is a vast agricultural land currently placed under the management of the DENR’s Forest Management Bureau (FMB).

Within the YKR are some 8,000 hectares of alienable and disposable lands that are the subject of request for coverage under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by Pesante Pilipinas Inc., Federation of Free Farmers and several other farmers’ groups.

“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,” Mariano said.

Although some of the lands are alienable and disposable public lands, Mariano said the property can be included in the CARP, but it has to be turned over to the DAR by the DENR through a Deed of Transfer and Memorandum of Agreement first.

“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.

Farmers in Coron have been calling for the distribution of the Yulo King Ranch lands for decades.

KMP Secretary-General Antonio Flores, meanwhile, said the absence of a genuine land-reform program in the country has emboldened landlords and land-grabbers.

“Farmers who assert their right to till through land-cultivation activities are either killed, arrested and jailed or subjected to various forms of abuses,” the peasant leader said, citing the recent peasant killings in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Isabela and North Cotabato.

Flores added that a fact-finding mission, led by the KMP in Yulo King Ranch in 2014, declared revealed that disputed grazing and pasture land, if distributed and cultivated, could help boost the country’s effort to attain food security, economic sustainability and self-sufficiency.

The YKR lands were declared as unfit for farming, a reason it was not covered by CARP. “For decades, farmers have been cultivating and planting cashew, coconut, banana, jackfruit, calamansi and fruit-bearing trees in the vast lands,” Flores said.

“With 40,000 hectares benefiting merely a thousand cattles, while thousands of farmers are impoverished, hungry and lacking of access to economic productivity and self-sufficiency, this is the biggest agricultural anomaly of our country,” Flores lamented.

Since 2013, the KMP and its regional chapter in the area have been campaigning for the distribution of the YKR.

Farmers in Coron and Busuanga were tilling the lands even before the government, through Proclamation 1387, declared YKR as pasture lands in 1975.

The said land is the subject of a long-running dispute between farmers and the Yulo King Ranch owned by Luis Yulo and Peter Sabido, known cronies of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who were able to gain control of the lands during the imposition of martial law in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1986 YKR was sequestered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government as it allegedly formed part of Marcos’s ill-gotten wealth, and the management of the ranch was transferred to the BAI.

In March 2010 the Supreme Court lifted the sequestration order, and transferred the management of the land to Philippine Forest Corp. (PhilForest).

In 2013 President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Presidential Proclamation 663, transferring the administration of the pasture reserve to the FMB of the DENR.

“Under the guise of the Busuanga Pasture Reserve, the government has seized and controlled the lands. Original settlers in the affected communities, such as Tagbanua, Calamianes and Cuyonin, were displaced from the lands to give way to the establishment of business and economic activities, like grazing and pasture activities, agro-forestry, tourism and industrial development,” Flores said.

The government then ordered the deployment of Marines Battalion Landing Team-4 to the disputed lands to harass farmers and settlers who are defending their rights to the lands.

“YKR is recognized as the biggest ranch in Asia, and yet, the number of cattle and horses in the disputed land has dramatically decreased over the years. The vast area provided for pasture land is obviously excessive compared to the number of cattle in the whole 40,000 hectares, since only 1 hectare is considered sufficient for a cow to live,” Flores said.