DAR chief condemns killing of 9 Sagay farmers
SAGAY CITY, Negros Occidental — The group that entered Hacienda Nene in Barangay Bulanon here Saturday has no legal basis to occupy the plantation, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones said on Tuesday.
“But we condemn the killings that were done because this is definitely unlawful and contrary to the position of our administration,” said Castriciones, who is part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s party, during his visit to the wake of the nine farmers killed Saturday.
“We are doing our best in order to address this issue so we can settle this injustice that was done,” he said.
Castriciones added that before the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) became law, the 76-hectare Hacienda Nene was donated to 25 persons, so it wasn’t covered by the law.
The occupation of the property on Saturday by the group led by the NFSW is a violation of the law, he said.
“Even if appeals were filed, there is already an order of finality, we cannot undo what has been done,“ he added.
The DAR chief reiterated that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police were not involved in the massacre or any entity of the state.
There are just some people who are interested to protect their vested interest, he said.
There are still 561,000 hectares of private land, and 261,000 hectares of government land is still up for distribution, under CARP, he added.
“Every year we target 50,000 hectares for distribution,” Castriciones said.
DAR Region 6 director Stephen Leonidas said in Region 6, around 113,000 hectares are still up for distribution under CARP — 90,000 hectares of this in Negros Occidental. /ee
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