DAR validates Hacienda Luisita farmers to stop lease-back
MANILA — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has started a massive validation program of agrarian reform beneficiaries in the sugar plantation Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, in a bid to stamp out the exploitative “aryendo” or “lease-back” scheme in which the farmers end up renting out the government-distributed lands back to the former landowners.
“There are reports that farmer-beneficiaries lease, rent or sell their lands. If the information is true, we could come up with corrective measure to protect the welfare of the farmers,” said Undersecretary for Field Operations Marcos Risonar Jr., in a statement on Tuesday.
“This is also to determine if there is re-concentration of awarded lands to previous landowners,” Risonar said.
The validation process began Tuesday in the Barangay Balete portion of the plantation, covering 57.42 hectares with 87 famer-beneficiaries.
The process hopes to validate all 6,212 farmer-beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita, covering 4,099.92 hectares in 10 barangays, by March 24.
Last year, DAR Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano already spoke out against the “aryendo” system in Hacienda Luisita, citing reports that local government officials and former managers and supervisors of Hacienda Luisita Inc. have been renting tracts of land from farmers at an annual rate of P10,000 per hectare.
“The ‘aryendo’ system must stop. They must be charged for obstruction of land reform in Hacienda Luisita,” Mariano had said in October, in his statement marking his first 100 days in office. Mariano added that the “lease-back” system has only continued to “disenfranchise” farmers.
Mariano warned that the DAR would press charges against those “who coerce, lure and swindle beneficiaries into this illicit ‘aryendo’ scheme.” SFM
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