Secretary in the News

June 26, 2017 594

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 401

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 1265

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 496

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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DAR cancels Luisita deals

inquirerCITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano on Wednesday nullified the sale or lease of agrarian lands awarded by the government in Hacienda Luisita.

Mariano cited the 10-year ban that stopped holders of certificates of land ownership award (Cloa) from selling and leasing agrarian lands distributed through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

His order also affected all joint venture arrangements involving Cloa lots. He acted on the results of a monthlong Cloa validation which concluded that 4,000 of 5,212 farmer-beneficiaries had sold, leased or bound their land in joint agreements that defied the ban. The beneficiaries of 6,884 lots total 6,212 farmers.

But when asked if the Cloa holders were also liable for the sale, Mariano said he directed the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to first determine why Cloa holders acted this way.

He said DAR would have to decide if the sale, lease or joint venture contracts “were justifiable or forced by circumstances [arising from] lack of government support coupled with landowner’s resistance and maneuverings.”

Mariano described the cancellation of contracts as “mapagpasyang hakbang (decisive action)” in defense of the beneficiaries.

But entrepreneurs who leased Cloa lots questioned Mariano’s decision, saying it went against a constitutional provision that guarantees the nonimpairment of obligations of contracts.

Tarlac Rep. Noel Villanueva, who spoke on behalf of the leaseholders, said: “Secretary Mariano is an alter ego of President Duterte so the secretary’s move is an executive action. Aside from the constitutional question, lease holders want to clarify who will benefit from the crops. Is there potential unjust enrichment here?”

The agrarian lands in the sugar estate formerly owned by the clan of former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino III were distributed in 2013 when the Supreme Court canceled the stocks sharing scheme began in 1989 and ordered the lands to be handed out to farmers in 2012.

The stock option scheme is allowed by CARP, and the stock shares benefiting 6,212 farm workers were the equivalent of 4,915 hectares. By 2014, each of the farmers received Cloa for 6,600 square meters of land when DAR fulfilled the Supreme Court order.

Mariano also revoked the conversion order which allowed 500 ha of Luisita land to be bought by the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC).

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, which Mariano used to chair, began occupying and cultivating the RCBC lot on Monday.

Mariano warned that he would “throw the full force of the law” against those that would defy his order.

“The practice of ‘aryendo’ (renting sugar cane land) is illegal and a willful and deliberate obstruction in the delivery of the agrarian reform program,” he said, adding that DAR would help those who were forced to lease or sell their lots.