Resolution of Batangas Land Dispute a Win for Farmers

Atty. Napoleon Galit, DAR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Office. (DAR file photo)

The resolution of the four decades long land dispute between farmers groups and Roxas and Co. Inc., is a win for farmers, because the Supreme Court, under G.R. No. 127876 dated December 17, 1999, earlier decided in favor of the landowner and ruled that the Notice of Coverage issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), was illegal. The decision subsequently rendered the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), issued by the DAR to the farmers groups, invalid.

DAR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Napoleon U. Galit, issued the clarification, in light of continuing reports, that the farmers groups were the losers in the consolidated order the DAR issued last December 29, 2023, which became final and executory last January 30, 2024, after the period for the filing of motion for reconsideration or appeal, against the consolidated order expired.

Galit reiterated that the compromise agreement, was reached by mutual consensus between both parties, which agreed to withdraw all pending appeals and cases filed before the Office of the President and the Supreme Court, and yield to the DAR’s jurisdiction and exclusive authority to facilitate a decision for the purpose of expediency in the resolution of the dispute.

This resulted in the transfer certificates of title covering Hacienda Palico, Banilad, and Caylaway, all located in Nasugbu, Batangas, to be consolidated into one derivative title, under the name of the Republic of the Philippines. The total of 2,644.45 hectares of land, will be divided equally between the farmers groups and the landowner, Roxas and Co. Inc.

The DAR will process the distribution of the parcels of land to the individual members of the farmers groups, taking into account all the necessary operational aspects and proceedings involving identification, technical description approval and issuance of individual CLOA’s to the farmers.

Galit emphasized that the DAR’s focus on the resolution of long-standing agrarian cases, is in line with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., to uphold the delivery of social justice to the farmers, while guaranteeing the right to equal protection under the law, for all the concerned parties.