Farmers to Receive 1,322.23 Hectares of Land After Resolution of Batangas Land Dispute

DAR Secretary Conrado M. Estrella III. (DAR file photo)

Contrary to initial reports that farmers in Hacienda Palico, Banilad and Caylaway, all located in Nasugbu, Batangas have been dispossessed of lands awarded to them by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), each of the farmer-beneficiaries will be given individual parcels of land under the compromise agreement between the farmers and Roxas and Co. Inc. This is the result of the Consolidated Order issued by the DAR last December 29, 2023, having become final and executory as of January 30, 2024, after no party filed any motion for reconsideration or appeal, within the fifteen (15) day mandatory period, contesting the consolidated order.

Secretary Conrado M. Estrella III said that the almost four decades long dispute between Roxas and Co. Inc. and the farmers, has finally been resolved through the conscientious efforts of all the concerned parties and the DAR, to come to a compromise agreement. The agreement states that one-half of the property, estimated 1,322 hectares, will be distributed to the 1,200 farmers.

The Supreme Court, in a ruling on December 17, 1999, declared the Notice of Coverage issued by the DAR as illegal, which subsequently invalidated the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), issued by the DAR to the farmers. Seeking to fully and finally end the pain of four decades of litigation, both Roxas and Co. Inc. and the farmers, by mutual consensus, agreed to withdraw all pending appeals and cases at the Supreme Court and the Office of the President and yield to the exclusive authority and jurisdiction of the DAR for quick action.

The DAR will now process the distribution of parcels of land to the 1,200 farmers. All the operational aspects and proceedings involving identification, technical description and approval and the issuance of individual titles of the farmers shall follow, as ordered.

Secretary Estrella said that the resolution of the dispute is proof that “social justice upholds both the welfare of the farmers and the landowners”.

Estrella added that the resolution of agrarian cases is in line with the marching order of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. that the backlog of agrarian cases be cleared and that equal protection under the law, be exercised in the settlement of the disputes.