More land for CARP found in Luisita
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has expanded the coverage of agrarian reform in an estate owned by former President Aquino’s family in Tarlac province, marking 384 hectares of idle land in the area for distribution to farmers.
In a press conference on Friday, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano announced that he was revoking an Aug. 14, 1996, DAR order to classify at least 500 hectares of Hacienda Luisita as an industrial area which would exempt these from land reform.
Mariano said he issued the revocation order “in the true spirit of the people’s uprising” on Feb. 25, 1986, which toppled the Marcos dictatorship and installed Corazon Aquino, who belongs to the family that owns Luisita.
Mariano’s order brings back the agricultural classification of 384 of the 500-ha area declared as industrial in the 1996 DAR order. These parcels of land are 200 ha under Luisita Realty Corp. (LRC) and 184 ha under Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) in the villages of Balete and Cutcut.
Mariano’s order was part of his decision on a petition by farmer’s group Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita.
The lots in question had been inspected by DAR last year.
Mariano said the 384 hectares should fall under “automatic coverage” of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) after the DAR found no development on the land in violation of the requirements set by its classification as industrial.
“They were given enough time to develop,” said DAR undersecretary for legal affairs Luis Pangulayan.
“In 20 years, nothing happened,” he said. “The lands were neglected.”
Mariano denied a petition by LRC and RCBC for an extension of the deadline to develop the lands.
Exempt from CARP
Mariano’s order brings to at least 727 hectares the area in Luisita placed under agrarian reform under the Duterte administration.
Last year, Mariano ordered at least 358 hectares of land in Luisita that had been exempt from CARP by the first Aquino administration to be placed under agrarian reform.
The government has started distributing nearly 5,000 ha of the estate for agrarian reform heeding a Supreme Court order in 2011.
Mariano, who headed a militant farmers group prior to his stint at the DAR, said he believed more lands inside Luisita should be distributed for agrarian reform.
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