Firm owned by Aquino kin says 358 ha CARP-exempt | Inquirer News

Firm owned by Aquino kin says 358 ha CARP-exempt

/ 08:52 AM April 16, 2014

Hacienda Luisita INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines—A company owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino III has asked the Tarlac City government to reaffirm the nonagricultural classification of a 358-hectare land in Hacienda Luisita in a bid to save that part of the estate from compulsory acquisition by the national government.

The Tarlac Development Corp. (Tadeco), through its official, Josephine Cojuangco-Guingona, made the appeal in a briefing last week for local officials led by Tarlac City Mayor Gelacio Manalang and the city council.

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Guingona told officials that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) placed the property under agrarian reform coverage in December 2013 “despite its classification as residential as early as 1985 per Tadeco tax declaration and realty taxes paid as such and accepted by Tarlac City.”

In a briefing paper sent to the Inquirer, Tadeco said it had transferred all its property devoted to agriculture, comprising of 4,915 ha, to Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI).

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HLI managed the stock distribution program (SDP), the first mode of agrarian reform in the sugar estate in 1989.

“All other property devoted to residential purposes remained in the name of Tadeco. The Supreme Court recognized that the remaining Tadeco land is nonagricultural,” the paper said.

The November 2011 resolution of the high court said it ruled to distribute to more than 6,000 farm workers the 4,915 ha because these were the only ones covered by the SDP, not the estate’s entire 6,443 ha.

Florida Sibayan, acting chair of Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita, has deplored Tadeco in several statements for destroying crops and huts, filing supposedly trumped up charges against farmers and hurting several others during protests since January.

Sibayan has asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to form a special panel to investigate those incidents.

Guingona said the Tarlac City government and the Tarlac provincial government recognized Tadeco land as a residential, commercial, industrial or institutional area.

These are stated in Resolution No. 280 of the city council on Sept. 1, 1995; certification of the municipal planning and development coordinator’s office on Sept. 22, 1995; Resolution No. 31 of the city council on Jan. 22, 2003; Resolution No. 113-2003 of the provincial board and Map No. 41 of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan of Tarlac City for 2001-2010, she said.

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She said Tadeco land in Barangay Balete was near Luisita Industrial Park Corp., the residential village Las Haciendas de Luisita, Luisita Golf and Country Club and the sugar mill, Central Azucarera de Tarlac. Adjacent lots were sold to Rizal Commercial and Banking Corp. and Luisita Realty Corp. as industrial areas.

Tadeco land in Barangay Cutcut II is near the Lourdes home lots and Don Pepe Homes, where the families of farm workers and sugar mill managers and supervisors live. Tadeco said these had been “zoned and reserved for low-cost housing for industrial zone locators.”

Guingona also presented a resolution of all 11 village chiefs supporting Tadeco’s protest against agrarian reform coverage of the 358 ha.

“Tadeco will appreciate any additional resolutions from the Tarlac City government, addressed to DAR again, recognizing its zonal plans and land use that will allow [and] provide a balanced economic development of the city apart from just agriculture,” Tadeco spokesperson Ramon de Vera told city officials.

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TAGS: Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Luisita Inc., Josephine Cojuangco-Guingona, President Aquino, Supreme Court, Tadeco, Tarlac City government, Tarlac City Mayor Gelacio Manalang, Tarlac Development Corporation
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