Latest Stories

812 hectares of Luisita now parceled out; group wants SC to stop raffle system


Signages are displayed along a road inside the Hacienda Luisita announcing the collection of a service fee for the road’s upkeep and maintenance. The road links MacArthur Highway to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway in Tarlac City. PHOTO COURTESY OF BCDA/FILE PHOTO

HACIENDA LUISITA, Philippines—About 812 hectares, or 20 percent, of the portion of this sugar estate covered by agrarian reform had been raffled off by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through the “tambiolo” (raffle drum) system on the third day of its allocation activity covering two of the hacienda’s 10 villages.

At least 1,231 farmer beneficiaries from the villages of Cutcut and Lourdes have been allocated lots in the sugar estate formerly owned by the family of President Aquino.

But on Tuesday, the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) asked the Supreme Court to stop the tambiolo system of raffling off the lots. It also asked the DAR to explain why the individual allotment of 6,886.5 square meters per farmer beneficiary, as ruled by the high court in November 2009, had been reduced.

The DAR completed the raffle of farm lots to 645 farmer beneficiaries in Barangay (village) Cutcut and another 586 in Barangay Lourdes.

Allocation completed Aug. 21

The allocation activity is expected to be completed by Aug. 21 and will cover a total of 4,099.91 ha, parceled out in lots of 6,600 square meters for each of the 6,212 beneficiaries.

Much like the scenario in Barangay Cutcut last week, the process in Barangay Lourdes went through smoothly. After going through documentation, beneficiaries gathered in front of a map to see where their respective lots are located.

Even as Estelita Bermudo was happy to have a lot that she can call her own, she was at a loss when asked what she would do with her property.

“Hindi ko raw puwede ibenta hanggang sampung taon at saka dapat daw ako ang magbubungkal. Eh single lang ako at nagkasakit, hindi ko naman kaya magbungkal (I cannot sell my land within 10 years and they told me that I should till the land. I’m single and sickly and I cannot till the land on my own)” said the 65-year-old Bermudo.

This instruction, she said, was clear when she signed the Application to Purchase and Farmer’s Undertaking (APFU) before DAR lawyers.

But Bermudo’s nephew, Bernardo Pineda, also a beneficiary, came to her rescue. “Kami na ang magbubungkal para sa kanya (We will till the land for her),” he said.

Pineda, 42, had worked at the hacienda since he was 15, starting out as a weed clearer, and later, as sugarcane planter.

He said he and 16 of his relatives were given land and they chose to have adjacent lots near the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

Thus, 17 names with respective lot assignments are in their common Lot Allocation Certificate (LAC). All told, Pineda’s group has 11.2 ha to till. As to what to plant, Pineda said he and his relatives would meet to discuss and decide on what to do with their land.

Thankful for problem resolution

Noel Pineda, Lourdes village chief, said he was thankful that the long-drawn-out problem in the sugar estate had been resolved.

Pineda said they were hoping the government would give farm workers financial assistance to help them start anew.

He said the barangay government would ask the National Irrigation Administration to reactivate irrigation in the area so farms will have steady supply of water. Irrigation canals are existing but water needs to be rediverted to the farms, according to Pineda.

Through lawyer Jobert Pahilga, Ambala on Tuesday filed an omnibus motion in the Supreme Court seeking to require the DAR to explain the discrepancy in the number of hectares for distribution to the beneficiaries.

Ambala said the land to be distributed to the farmers should be 4,335.60 ha.

Ambala also asked the high court to appoint a geodetic engineer to validate the survey conducted by the DAR and stop the use of the “tambiolo system” of land distribution.

It asked the court to stop the DAR from collecting amortization payments from the beneficiaries and to stop the agency from requiring the beneficiaries to sign the APFU.

Ambala petition

Ambala asked the court to order the DAR to appoint the farmer’s accounting firm of choice to audit the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI), to determine the financial position of the company.

In asking the Supreme Court to stop the raffle, Ambala said the most ideal way of distributing the land, given its size and the number of beneficiaries, would be through collective ownership.

“The DAR had been informed of the choice of Ambala of collective ownership of the parcels of lands but it totally disregarded such choice. Ambala has likewise shown that the conditions for beneficiaries for collective ownership of the land are present and applicable to Hacienda Luisita,” Ambala said in its petition.

“To the members of Ambala, the collective ownership of the land is the better way to make it productive. Sadly, the DAR neglected Ambala’s call for collective ownership of the land and is imposing to the beneficiaries a method of land allocation that is not acceptable to them and which violates their right to collective ownership,” the petition said.

In a telephone interview, Lito Bais, Ambala and United Luisita Workers Union (Ulwu) chairman, said about 2,000 ha of the sugar estate had been planted by the farmer beneficiaries since 2005 and the area they have been tilling should be given them.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said the DAR has been exercising its mandate and could not please everybody.

‘Fairest way to allocate’

“We have a mandate to perform and we are doing it. There are the organized and unorganized farmers in the hacienda and we have to go for the most transparent and fairest way to allocate the area. Hindi lang yung maingay ang dapat pakinggan (We should also listen to others, not just the noisy groups),” De los Reyes said.

De los Reyes said he would face the court and answer the petition. “Should the high court set an oral argument, I am prepared to wear my robe. I’m ready to face the case,” he said.

Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Anthony Parungao said the DAR gave the beneficiaries options as to who they want to be with as they allocated the lots.

“They were precisely given the choice of neighbors so they can work collectively while tending their respective farm lots. More than half of the beneficiaries opted for this,” Parungao said.

“As owners, nothing prevents the beneficiaries from doing things collectively and the DAR actually facilitated this by allowing them to choose the people whose farm lots will be beside theirs,” he said.

Parungao said the signing of the APFU was a requirement imposed by law and other guidelines for agrarian reform.

As to why the land area that would be distributed was only 4,099.91 ha, Parungao said the total land area acquired by the government for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program was only 4,500.79 ha but certain portions of the land would be retained by the government, such as those no longer suitable for agricultural areas.

These, he said, would be used as common areas.

Of the 400 ha retained by government, 174 ha are firebreaks which can be used as roads to benefit farmers, according to Parungao.

Parungao, who heads the DAR’s legal affairs division, disputed reports that ULWU and Ambala members refused to participate in the process.

He said in Barangay Cutcut, 114 of 143 ULWU members signed the APFU and 20 of 21 Ambala members signed the same document.

Parungao said 558 of 645 beneficiries signed the APFU and only 87 were absent last week for various reasons.

In Barangay Lourdes, only eight of 586 beneficiaries were absent on Monday.

Parungao said these beneficiaries could go to the Tarlac DAR Office to get their LACs.—With a report from Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

Related stories:

Militant farmers slam DAR for eschewing collective land ownership

Gov’t raffles 6,600 sqm Luisita land per farmer

DAR chief defends raffle to parcel out Luisita farm lots

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: agrarian reform , Agriculture , Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law , Department of Agrarian Reform , Farmers , Hacienda Luisita , News , Philippines - Regions , Regions , Tarlac

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano


  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Man found dead in Quezon City, alleged victim of summary execution–report
  • Aquino to lead Air Force turnover rites
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Marketplace