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Luisita land reform completed

Gov’t distributes land titles to 117 farmers in estate once owned by Aquino, Cojuangco clans
/ 05:05 AM December 24, 2018

TOILING Sugarcane farmers are a regular sight in Tarlac province due to a good number of farms, such as those in San Manuel town as seen in this 2016 photo. —WILLIE LOMIBAO

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The last 117 farm workers in Hacienda Luisita have been handed their certificates of land ownership award (Cloa) covering 6,600 square meters of land, completing agrarian land distribution at the estate formerly owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino clans in Tarlac province.

The 117 beneficiaries, who received their certificates from Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, were in the final batch of 6,212 farm workers who were entitled to 4,915 out of 6,000 hectares of agrarian land at Luisita.

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But instead of lands, the farmers were first locked into a stock distribution program in 1989, which granted them dividends from the estate’s proceeds.

This was revoked in July 2011 by the Supreme Court, which ordered the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to hand over the lands.

Compulsory

The government paid P471.5 million for the compulsory acquisition of Luisita lands.

DAR issued lot allocation certificates and facilitated the application to purchase and farmers’ undertaking during the term of President Benigno Aquino III, whose family was one of the former owners of Luisita.

During the short-lived term of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano under the Duterte administration, the government found that among 5,031 Cloa holders, 2,841 leased their lands, 617 sold their lots and 187 others entered into joint venture arrangements with politicians and traders.

Each hectare was leased for P7,000 to P10,000 a year.

The Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita, which went on strike in 2004 to demand for the lands, is still claiming two large parcels of land.

Survey begins

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On Dec. 3, 2012, the firm FF Cruz began a survey of Luisita lands.

On Feb. 27, 2013 the DAR released the final master list of farm worker beneficiaries (FWBs).

On May 6, 2013, the Land Bank of the Philippines started releasing to the DAR the certificates of deposits to landowners until June 2013.

The total payment to Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) for the land amounted to P471.5 million.

Reckoned from Nov. 21, 1989, the total payment consists of the principal amount of P304.1 million (P76.2 million in cash and P227.9 million in agrarian reform bonds (ARB)) plus interest of P167.5 million (P39.9 million cash and P127.6 million in ARB).

Raffle

On May 20, 2013, at the DAR’s request after land valuation and Land Bank’s release of certificates of deposits to DAR, the registry of deeds started issuing 51 titles transferring the ownership of HLI lands to the government until Sept. 5, 2013.

On May 24, 2013 the Land Registration Authority  started approving survey plans.

The DAR started distiributing the lands on July 18, 2013, allocating 6,600 sq. m to qualified farmers by raffling off lots.

On Oct. 3, 2013 the DAR generateed 6,516 certificates of land ownership awards for 5,867 FWBs.

The DAR, on Oct. 9, 2013, started putting “mojon” (monuments or boundary stones) for each lot. At least 60 lot owners ask for a repeat of the process.

On Jan. 28, 201, the DAR began installing farmers on their lots. At least 53 writs of installation have been issued to help beneficiaries take possession of their lots from people who have been cultivating these before the SC order.

Pending claims

On Feb. 28, 2014, the Supreme Court created a panel to conduct a special audit of the books of HLI and Centenary Holdings Inc.

On Aug. 26, 2014, the DAR secretary granted the petition of 46 farmers to claim lot allocation certificates and sign applications to purchase and farmers’ undertaking.

Fourteen more claims were pending while 121 farmers refused to claim their lots.

On Jan. 14, 2015, 6,732 Cloa (97.79 percent of 6,744) have been listed in registry of deeds. The number of claimants totaled 6,107.

On Jan. 30, 2015, the DAR adjudication board (Darab) denied the claim of HLI for additional compensation and interest, having already been paid P471.5 million.

On March 6, 2015, HLI filed a notice questioning the original action at the Darab secretariat. HLI contested DARAB’s decision at the Regional Trial Court in Tarlac City.

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TAGS: Aquino clan, Cojuangco clan, DAR, Department of Agrarian Reform, Hacienda Luisita, Land Reform
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