Farmers plead to Duterte: Stop reversal of CARP | Inquirer News

Farmers plead to Duterte: Stop reversal of CARP

By: - Correspondent / @dtmallarijrINQ
/ 02:09 AM August 14, 2016

LUCENA CITY—Land reform beneficiaries in Sariaya town have appealed to President Duterte to stop the revocation of certificates of land ownership awards (Cloa) issued for farms already awarded to farmers by the government.

“We appeal to President Duterte to stop this wholesale ‘bigay-bawi’ (give and retake) of our Cloas,” said Romeo Clavo, head of Ugnayan ng Magsasaka sa Gitnang Quezon (Ugnayan).

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“This issue is a matter of life and death for land reform beneficiaries,” Clavo said in an interview on Friday.

He said the cancellation of Cloas by the government would affect 2,000 families of farmer-beneficiaries.

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Clavo said a total of 750 Cloas, covering 1,750 hectares, have pending cases of revocation initiated by the landowners.

Stop conversion

He declared support to Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano’s call for President Duterte for a moratorium on the acceptance of application for land use conversion.

On Thursday, Mariano asked Mr. Duterte to issue an executive order to stop land conversion that would also cover applications for exemption or exclusion of land from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), other agrarian reform laws and programs.

Clavo said if land conversion will not stop, more farmers will be deprived of their only means of survival—their farm lands.

“These land conversion madness has already victimized us and we know the pain and sufferings of land tillers that have been deprived of their only treasure,” Clavo said.

Last year, the Court of Appeals (CA) dispossessed 255 farmers in Sariaya of the lands awarded to them in 1997 under the land reform program of the government.

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The CA ruling was a direct reversal of the decision made earlier by the same court, which sided with the opinion of Malacañang on May 12, 2014, which affirmed the 2009 ruling by former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman rejecting the landowners’ appeal for exemption from the CARP.

Zoning

The landowners argued that their lands could not be covered by land reform as these were classified as non-agricultural in the 1982 zoning ordinance of the municipal government of Sariaya, or six years before the CARP took effect.

Clavo said the court has yet to decide on their motion to reverse the decision to correct the injustice to the farmers.

In April, Clavo and some Sariaya farmer leaders joined Quezon province farmers in the 122-kilometer protest march and hike to Manila to once more appeal to the DAR for the return of their lands.

“We’ve already staged marches, rallies and other forms of protests,” Clavo said. “We will never get tired of staging more protest actions until the government hears our plea and returns our lands,” he added.

Sariaya Vice Mayor Alex Tolentino said the issue of the zoning ordinance is now being deliberated by the local council.

“We are fully supportive of the struggle of our farmers to regain their lands in accordance with the law,” he said in a phone interview.

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TAGS: Agriculture, CARP, CLOA, Land Reform, Quezon Province, Regions, Rodrigo Duterte
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