The Department of Agrarian Reform Negros Occidental-South will act on the current row between 25 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries of Hacienda Bacan in Barangay Guintubhan, Isabela town, and the family of slain Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member Renato Malabor, as soon as a complaint is filed at its office.
“We will take appropriate action as soon as a formal complaint has been filed by any of the two parties,” Glen Pajarillo, DAR Public Information Officer, said in a phone interview yesterday.
He said whether the leasing of the disputed lands to the Malabors is legal or not depends on whether if they complied with the requirements of DAR Administrative Order No. 9 series of 2006, or the Revised Rules and Regulations Governing Agribusiness Venture Arrangements in Agrarian Reform Areas.
“It is premature to comment on the legality of the lease in Isabela since DAR has not yet received any formal complaints, apart from the news released in the press,” Pajarillo said.
In 2011, a total of 157 hectares of land holdings previously owned by the Arroyo family was distributed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program to 68 beneficiaries.
Twenty-five of them leased their properties to the then town mayor, Renato Malabor, while they were processing their certificates of land ownership award, said an ARB who asked not to be named.
The ARB said Malabor helped and sustained their families by sending them rice, food and P5,000 stipend every two weeks. When they got their CLOAs, he said Malabor had them sign documents that they are leasing their acquired properties to him, and they signed the contract out of a debt of gratitude.
When Malabor was killed in June last year, his wife Araceli took over the transaction with ARBs.
The ARB added that because of some hardships they sought Mrs. Malabor last week to borrow additional money but were turned down. They claimed they were told that if they want they can get their land back, but she will charge them P150,000 for the principal loan and for the expenses she incurred in cultivating their properties.
The beneficiaries also claim that Mrs. Malabor did not participate in their previous transactions with Mayor Renato Malabor.
The ARBs are seeking help from the Arroyo family and concerned government agencies, especially the DAR, to mediate in the case.*KBC
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