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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, August 15, 2016
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DAR chief calls Negros
‘bastion of landlordism’


  The Department of Agrarian Reform is investigating the implementation of the corporative scheme and stock distribution option   in some large  landholdings in Negros Occidental, including  the 4,300-hectare Eduardo Cojuangco farms, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano said Saturday.

The DAR will ensure that the interest of the farmer beneficiaries are upheld in any agribusiness arrangement, said Mariano, who was in Bacolod City.

The DAR wants to ensure “distributive justice” by enabling  farmer beneficiaries to have actual control of the land awarded to them, he added.

Negros Island,  a "bastion of landlordism",  has the largest balance of undistributed land under CARP at 101,000 hectares in 3,500 landholdings, of which 91,000 has. is in Negros Occidental,  Mariano said.

It will help if House Bill 555 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill becomes a law  that gives DAR continued authorization for land acquisition and distribution, he said.

   This would allow for a thorough going and truly distributive program, to emancipate  Filipino peasants, Mariano added.

    The DAR is investigating the  4,300-hectare Eduardo Cojuangco property in Negros Occidental that was-covered by CARP during the term of then President Joseph Estrada under a corporative scheme, Mariano said.

    The farms located in La Carlota City, Bago City, Himamaylan City, Pontevedra, Hinigaran, La Castellana and Isabela have 1,800 farmer beneficiaries who should have control over the land, he said.

      The DAR has received reports that the property is no longer planted to high value crops and has been leased by a new management.

The DAR noted that the corporative agreement was reached with the original landowner and not with the new management of the property.

Also up for review by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council are petitions for cancellation of Stock Distribution Options granted on two large landholdings in Negros Occidental that have been covered by CARP, Mariano said.

  They are the Wuthrich Hermanos Inc. located in Buenavista, Calatrava town, covering 174.31 hectares with 336 farmer beneficiaries, and the SVG Farms in Barangay Concepcion, Talisay City, covering 170.6 hectares with 144 beneficiaries, he said.

     “If violations to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law are found, we will act on the matter, and file the appropriate charges,” he said.

          Perpetrators of illegal and premature conversion of landholdings will face criminal liability, he added.

Mariano also said the DAR thrust under his leadership will ensure land tenure improvement, agrarian justice delivery, and program beneficiaries delivery, citing the implementation of integrated support services.*CPG



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