Director Rodolfo Inson of the Department of Agrarian Reform Region 7 assured yesterday that land reform beneficiaries will be peacefully installed to the CARP-covered Polo Coconut Plantation in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental.
Inson gave the assurance as he was set to meet with members of the ARIBA, who filed an inclusion/exclusion petition with the DAR, to appeal to them to allow the peaceful and orderly installation of farmer-beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
Inson, who arrived in Dumaguete, allayed fears of possible bloodshed at the landholding owned by former Senator Rene Espina Jr., on reports that ARIBA members may just have to defend themselves if pushed to the limit.
He added that DAR is in the final stages of preparation for the installation of the beneficiaries, including those granted Certificates of Land Ownership Award years ago, as well as ARIBA members.
Inson said that of the 157 original CLOA holders in the first installation of farmer-beneficiaries in 2004, only 110 remained qualified to date, while the others were excluded for a number of reasons, like not being plantation workers or tillers at the Polo Plantation anymore but were holding other jobs like being a tricycle driver.
The CLOA holders belong to the Polo Plantation Agrarian Reform Multi-Purpose Cooperative and the MARA. Previous attempts by the DAR to install them, or through self-installation, turned futile due to what they claimed as harassment by opposing quarters.
As for the ARIBA petitioners, 108 qualified as beneficiaries and will be included in the upcoming installation, Inson said.
He added that Philippine National Police director-general Nicanor Bartolome has ordered the regional and provincial police offices to provide security during the installation rite. Coordination is also being made with the Philippine Army to curb violence.
Inson said he hopes that ARIBA members will heed the call of the DAR to allow the installation to proceed despite the ongoing hearing of their petition, saying that ARIBA, POPARMUCO and MARA farmer-beneficiaries are to be included anyway.
He added that whether the ARIBA agrees or not, DAR will push for the installation to finally put an end to the controversy surrounding the CARP-covered Polo Plantation that has dragged on for years.
The DAR wants to "put a period to this" once and for all as the farmer-beneficiaries have waited for so many years since they were awarded lands via the CARP, Inson said.*JFP
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