Secretary in the News

June 26, 2017 559

DAR officials, employees reach 'agreement' on 4-year row

MANILA -- Agrarian reform officials and employees have reached an agreement that would end their four-year row over the plight of 10,000 department employees nationwide who were displaced under the government’s rationalization scheme. Read More..
manilatimes 1
Jun 12, 2017 372

Food firm’s complaint vs DAR officials junked

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed a graft complaint filed by the Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC) against Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano and Undersecretary Luis Pañgulayan. Read More..
business mirror
May 30, 2017 1223

DAR amends rules on adjudication of agrarian law…

TO ensure a just, inexpensive and expeditious determination of agrarian cases, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has amended its rules on adjudication of cases involving agrarian law implementation (ALI). Read More..
May 30, 2017 477

Luisita farmers to stay as lot owners

AGRARIAN Secretary Rafael Mariano said on Friday that farmer-beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita Inc. will stay as owners of lots under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. 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.