For almost four years, the latest recipients of land titles have been continuously pushed out of their farms after being disqualified in the agrarian reform program for refusing to sign the Application to Purchase and Farmers’ Undertaking (APFU).
According to Mariano, the APFU should not be a ground for disqualifying an individual as beneficiary of land reform. Two weeks ago, DAR released Administrative Order (AO) 1 suspending the guidelines that require farmer-beneficiaries to sign the said document.
In addition, the Secretary announced to uphold the 2012 Supreme Court ruling to install agrarian reform beneficiaries to the sprawling sugar plantation following the recent dialogue with Hacienda Luisita farmers. The 111 farmers will each receive 6,600 square meters of allocated land located in the Asturias, Bantog, Cut-cut, Mabilog, Mapalacsiao, Motrico, Pando and Parang areas according to Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer (PARPO) Ileona Pangilinan.
“Ikinararangal po natin at buong pagpapakumbabang loob nating aangkinin ang laban ng mga manggagawang bukid sa Hacienda Luisita,” he added.
Mariano, who was a representative of the Anakpawis Partylist in the 15th Congress, has been defending and asserting the rights of the Hacienda Luisita farmers ever since his days with peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.
Support services for all
Results of the survey done by DAR employees during the CLOA distribution say that majority of the new landowners are in need of state-sponsored services. Among these are seedlings, facilities, machineries, livelihood trainings, capital support and irrigation.
PARPO Pangilinan led the ceremonial turnover of seedlings to the farmer-beneficiaries. The seeds, valued at Php 300,000, were donated by the local unit of the Department of Agriculture.
Undersecretary Rosalina Bistoyong also promised 10 tractors for the 10 barangays of the hacienda to ensure the productivity of the awarded lands and the improvement of the lives of farmers. Reports received by DAR show that a number of farmers belonging to the 111 CLOA recipients have been disenfranchised by the rampant ‘aryendo’ or lease-back system by “opportunists” in the hacienda.
“Malaking hamon ngayon sa mga naiposisyon na pagtulung-tulungan ang pag-ahon sa mga kapwa agrarian reform beneficiaries mula sa sistema ng aryendo,” Mariano said. In his visit to the hacienda last October 2016, the agrarian reform chief announced that DAR will definitely press charges against the ‘aryendadors’ who coerce, lure and swindle beneficiaries into this scheme.
Governor Susan Yap assured the farmers that the provincial government of Tarlac will mobilize its offices to ensure that support services will be provide to the farmers.
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