5,000 Luisita land reform papers submitted for titling

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has submitted 5,092 certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to the Register of Deeds in Tarlac province, representing the bulk of the 4,099 hectares of land that will be distributed this month from the 6,443-ha Hacienda Luisita, according to Anthony Parungao, undersecretary for legal matters of the DAR.

Parungao said 614 CLOAs were being processed by the Tarlac registrar on Friday.

Majority of the 6,212 farm workers who qualified as agrarian reform beneficiaries have signed the two documents needed before they are granted CLOAs, Parungao said.

But 305 workers have not yet claimed their lot allocation certificates and 502 others have not yet signed their application to purchase and farmers’ undertaking through which they commit to pay and till the land.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said each beneficiary stands to receive 6,600 square meters of Luisita land, worth between P60,000 and P70,000, to be paid in 30 years.

The DAR has been required by the Supreme Court to offer just compensation to the Cojuangco family, whose members include President Aquino.

The compensation amount, pegged at 1989 values, has not been disclosed but Hacienda Luisita Inc. is set to seek payments for interest since 1989, when the sugar estate was first covered by agrarian reform.

Also on Friday, a leader of the Farmworkers Agrarian Reform Movement (FARM) criticized De los Reyes for saying that it would be the Department of Social Welfare and Development that would help the beneficiaries in setting up food security programs in the estate.

“We don’t need relief goods or conditional cash transfer. These cannot answer the persistent hunger among us. We want to have the independent capacity to produce food,” said Renato Lalic, FARM-Luisita president. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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