Farmers finally own land in bastion of CARP foes | Inquirer News

Farmers finally own land in bastion of CARP foes

By: - Correspondent / @joeygabietaINQ
/ 12:39 AM June 21, 2016

TACLOBAN CITY—Sugarcane farmer Erlinda Naya can now see a brighter future for her youngest child.

She and her husband, Antonio, plan to cultivate the sugarcane farm awarded to them by the government and make it productive so their 12-year-old daughter, Magenda could finish her studies.

Naya is among the 23 sugarcane farmers who were finally installed at the 35.56-hectare property owned by the Larrazabals, one of the country’s biggest landowners, in Barangay Sumangga, Ormoc City.


The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), however, has yet to divide the property among the farmers since the beneficiaries were given a collective Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (Cloa).


At least 200 policemen from the city and regional police units were at hand to ensure a peaceful installation ceremony which took place at 10 a.m. on Monday.

Also present were DAR officials from Leyte, Ormoc and the DAR central office. The previous landowner, Potenciano and Aniceta Larrazabal Enterprise Corporation (Palec), was represented by Joel Robin.

The farmers, who belonged to the Sumangga Farmers Association (SFA), finally took over the property 18 years after the DAR awarded them a collective Cloa under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The occupation of the land was stopped because the owner, Palec, resisted the distribution, claiming that there were other sugarcane farmers who should be awarded the Cloas.

Land distribution in Leyte has been a contentious issue mainly due to the strong resistance by hacienderos (big landowners), like in Ormoc City where vast tracts of land are devoted to sugarcane planting.

The provincial DAR office has yet to distribute more than 42,000 hectares, which are owned mostly by big landed families in Ormoc and the nearby town of Kananga, due to opposition from landowners.


In Leyte, the DAR has been able to distribute only 180,160 ha of agricultural land to 36,000 farmers since the start of the CARP during the term of the late President Corazon Aquino.

For the Nayas, the installation was the end of a long, agonizing wait.

The couple has been working as sugarcane farmers in Sumangga since 1987, earning only P70 per day.

“I could not describe what I am feeling right now,” Erlinda said.

She said she and her husband plan to make the property productive so their youngest child, Magenda, a Grade 8 student, could finish her studies.

She said she did not want Magenda to end up like her seven older siblings who don’t have a college degree.

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Gilian Marie Cruz, project development officer of the Kaisahan (Kaisahan Tungo sa Kaunlaran ng Kanayunan at Repormang Pansakahan), a nongovernment organization that extended legal assistance to beneficiaries, said the group is happy that the farmers were finally installed.

TAGS: agri, Agriculture, CARP, DAR, farmer, sugarcane, Tacloban

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