The NDF-Negros Island welcomed in its press statement yesterday the “order of business” set by newly installed Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano for his 100 days in the DAR.
The NDF-Negros Island called on the masses and farm workers to actively support and participate in the “Duterte government's rough journey of realizing genuine agrarian reform in the island.”
“The stark reality of disparate land distribution in the island among its citizens is a century-old problem. Negros Island is one of the strongholds of landlordism in the country. The harsh everyday experience of hunger and deprivation of the majority of the population of Negros who are peasants and farm workers must again be brought to the door of the social conscience of the landed elite in Negros Island,” it said.
The NDF also called on the “landed elites of Negros Island, the sugar barons and the neo-liberalists to refrain from resisting or sabotaging the implementation of a genuine agrarian reform program of the government.”
It asked the DAR look into the 3,773.5 hectare Cojuangco landholdings in Negros Occidental covered by Certificate of Land Ownership Awards that has been subjected to a joint venture agreement/corporative scheme through the Voluntary Land Transfer scheme of the DAR in October 1998.
The farm workers identified as beneficiaries of the land have become sham owners of the Cojuangco property in the towns of La Castellana, Isabela and Hinigaran in Central Negros, the NDF said.
The NDF also asked the DAR to look into what it called the forcible eviction of 66 farmer-beneficiaris of the CARP in the 155 hectares in Hacienda Ilimnan and Hacienda Arlocs, in Barangay Sta. Rosa, Murcia, Negros Occidental purchased by the provincial government.
It also asked for an investigation into the alleged massive reclassification and conversion of lands in Kabankalan City covering 5 barangays and victimizing farmer beneficiaries.
In other areas of Negros Island, widespread land use conversions and cancellations of CLOAs are victimizing farmer-beneficiaries, the DAR said.*
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