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DAR orders landlord, aide to stop eviction of farmers

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CAPIZ AGRARIAN DISPUTE

DAR orders landlord, aide to stop eviction of farmers

ILOILO CITY — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has barred the administrator of a disputed property in Capiz province from evicting farmers occupying parts of the property for four months now.

In a 16-page order, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano barred the administrator of the Nemesio Tan estate, or those acting on his behalf, from “forcibly evicting” the agrarian reform beneficiaries.

Mariano’s order also prevents the landowners from “disturbing [the farmers’] peaceful possession and occupation” of the property.

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In his order dated May 15 and received by the farmers on May 31, Mariano also directed the DAR Western Visayas and Capiz offices to secure police and military assistance to maintain peace and order in the property.

Since Feb 6, at least 60 farmers bearing certificates of land ownership award in 1998 covering 198 hectares have been occupying a three-hectare area that is part of Tan’s property in Pilar and President Roxas towns in Capiz.

They said they occupied the property since Feb. 6 due to the failure of the DAR to install them as owners 19 years after they had been given titles.

On Feb. 11, the farmers clashed with a group of relatives and supporters of Ferdinand Bacanto, administrator of the property.

A farmer was shot dead and four others were wounded in the confrontation. A relative of Bacanto was also wounded.

Melinda Eslana-Arroyo, one of the farmers who was shot in the head, is suffering from memory loss as a result of her gun wound, according to lawyer Cecilia Maquirang, one of the legal counsels of the farmers.

Police have filed murder and frustrated murder complaints against Bacanto, the village chief of Culilang in President Roxas and several others.

Bacanto had denied involvement in the shooting and insisted that the beneficiaries started the violence.

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TAGS: Capiz land dispute, DAR, Department of Agrarian Reform, Nemesio Tan estate, Rafael Mariano
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