DAR denies landowner’s petition for CARP exemptionBy Delfin T. Mallari Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LUCENA CITY—Coming on the heels of President Benigno Aquino III’s pronouncement that he would speed up land distribution to farmers, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has denied the bid to exempt from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) a vast estate owned by a landlord from Quezon.
Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, in a June 14 order, “denied for utter lack of merit” the application for exemption filed by Michael Gil Matias and Cenen Matias Jr., owners of the 1,829-hectare estate in barangays Butangguiad and Silongin in San Francisco, Quezon.
“The land is suitable for agriculture and it is presently occupied and tilled by farmers … the application for exclusion is clearly unmeritorious,” said the order, a copy of which was furnished the Inquirer by the Kilusan ng Magbubukid ng Bondoc Peninsula (KMBP).
“We’re all happy with the DAR decision on Hacienda Matias,” Maribel Luzara, KMBP president, said over the phone Saturday.
She said the DAR decision is a “small victory” for the Matias tenants.
On November 2010, the Matiases filed for an exemption from CARP coverage declaring their land to be a “ranch.”
The Matias family could not be reached to comment on the ruling.
Luzara said they also welcomed De los Reyes’ declaration that the DAR would amend the controversial DAR Administrative Order No. 7. The order regulates or limits the scope of land to be distributed under CARP with Extension and Reforms (Carper).