Finish CARP in ‘heart of land reform problem’ | Inquirer News

Finish CARP in ‘heart of land reform problem’

Farmers’ group asks Duterte to dismantle haciendas in Negros Occidental
By: - Correspondent / @carlagomezINQ
/ 05:04 AM February 15, 2019

BREAKING HEARTS Task Force Mapalad members use heart-shaped placards to demand implementation of land reform in Negros Occidental province. —CARLA P. GOMEZ

BACOLOD CITY — A group of farmers rallied at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) office here to demand the distribution of land in the province of Negros Occidental which it said was the “heart of the agrarian reform problem.”

At least 100 members of Task Force Mapalad (TFM) rode on the celebration of Valentine’s Day to try to deliver their message to President Duterte.


“Listen to your heart,” said TFM, with its members carrying heart-shaped placards on Feb. 13, demanding agrarian reform in the province that was considered to be a bastion of landlords.


“Start completing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in Negros,” the group said.

The protesters asked Duterte to dismantle haciendas in the province and distribute the land to beneficiaries and plantation workers who had been cultivating sugarcane farms for decades.

Landlord bastion

Negros Occidental has been a thorn on the side of previous administrations as hacienda owners continued to oppose land acquisitions and distribution by the DAR, said TFM Negros-Panay president Terry Tarlac.

“Listen to your heart of hearts,” Tarlac said, addressing the President. “Get to the heart of the land reform problem which is in Negros Occidental,” she said.

Duterte promise


Farmers converged at the DAR office on San Sebastian Street in the city where speakers took turns decrying the failure to carry out agrarian reform in Negros Occidental.

Tarlac said Duterte “promised farmers last year that there will be a rebirth of agrarian reform in the country and your administration will be more aggressive in its implementation.”

“We are still pinning our hopes on your promise,” Tarlac said.

Nearly completed

“We also hope that you will start that ‘rebirth’ in Negros Occidental by ending land monopoly and the rule of powerful hacienderos,” she added.

TFM said the Duterte administration could complete CARP in Negros Occidental by distributing 30 landholdings in the province that had already been identified as CARP areas.

The process to acquire and distribute the landholdings measuring a total of at least 900 hectares was nearly completed, the group said.

TFM said the only step needed was the distribution of certificates of land ownership award (Cloas) to at least 1,000 beneficiaries.

‘Lack of political will’

But the distribution of the landholdings, TFM said, was stuck at the DAR with titles pending at the Registry of Deeds despite the absence of any obstacles to their distribution.

“There is no more reason to slow down or impede Cloa issuance in these landholdings,”  TFM said.

“But landlords’ grip over these estates remained tight amid the DAR’s lack of political will to award these to their tillers,” Tarlac said.

Tagged landholdings

Among the landholdings tagged by TFM were Ancar Estate in La Carlota City, 132 ha; Hacienda Bilabil in Hinigaran town, 120 ha; Hacienda Rosarito in La Carlota City, 98 ha; Hacienda Lopez Panganiban in Cadiz City, 57 ha.

Hacienda Mirasol Lourdes in Sagay City, 50 ha; Hacienda Calamnisan in La Carlota City, 47 ha; Unson Farm in Cadiz City, 35 ha; Hacienda Maria Luisa Solis, La Carlota City, 23 ha; Hacienda Oscar Ascal in Cadiz City, 22 ha; and Alaja Agro Corp. Estate in La Carlota City, 20 ha.

Ministerial duty

Tarlac said when land claims in favor of beneficiaries reach the DAR, the agency was duty-bound to cancel landowners’ titles, transfer these to the Philippine government and register CLOAs in favor of beneficiaries.

Republic Act No. 9700, or the law that extended CARP, said registering CLOAs in favor of beneficiaries was just a “ministerial duty.”

Tarlac said “there is no more stumbling block to the distribution of the landholdings.”

“The estates are already in the hands of the government,” she said.

“All it needs to do is hand over the farms to their tillers through CLOAs,” Tarlac said. “So why is this being stalled?” she added.

Data from the DAR showed that the Duterte administration, in its first two years in office, had the lowest CARP land distribution accomplishment since the first Aquino administration started CARP in 1986.

Highest distribution

A total of 63,202 ha of CARP landholdings had been distributed to farmers under the Duterte administration from 2016 to 2017.

The highest land distribution accomplishment was recorded in the first two years of the Ramos administration. It was able to distribute a total of 679,341 ha in 1992 and 1993.

The second highest accomplishment was during the first two years of the Estrada administration which distributed a total of 269,427 ha.

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The second Aquino administration distributed 222,069 ha from 2010 to 2011. The Arroyo administration distributed 215,983 ha in 2001 and 2002.

TAGS: Land Reform, Rodrigo Duterte

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