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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, September 10, 2016
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PARO airs clarification

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Lucrecia Taberna yesterday clarified that issues between the Department of Agrarian Reform-Negros Occidental South and farmer groups might have been the result of a simple misunderstanding of the new structure of the office, at the Pavillon Hotel, Bacolod City yesterday.

DAR-Neg. Occ. II, which manages the southern section of the province, has adopted a structure to provide a systematic approach by assigning a civil society organizations provincial focal person supported by three CSO focal persons in the district level, Taberna said in the dialog between the department and agrarian reform beneficiaries with Sec. Rafael Mariano.

She said that through the system, the monthly meetings held at the DAR district offices will determine if the concerns can be resolved at the municipal level. If the conflict needs to be elevated, a dialog will then be set on the provincial level, she added.

Danilo Tabura, of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, claimed in his privileged address that Taberna has been refusing to meet with the farmers.

Taberna said the requests for a dialog by NFSW and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas have all been conflicting with the schedule of activities whether directed by the central office, or locally-initiated.

“We need the farmers to help realize agrarian reform. These groups might have a wrong impression of the system we are using, and we want to erase that impression,” she said.

In January, Taberna said the department had asked all CSO leaders in South Negros to submit a list of their assisted landholdings, and the NFSW and KMP have yet to submit their list, she said.

She said DAR needed to update which landholdings are being assisted by certain CSO to avoid encroachments or violations.

On Aug. 9-11, DAR-South also conducted consultative dialogs with CSOs on their concerns, she said.

She added that they have requested each CSO to choose up to three leaders to join a district level paralegal training and workshop with the municipal agrarian reform officers to agree on the interpretation of the law.

If everyone has the same understanding of the law, we can all easily provide solutions for both parties if issues arise, she said.*KBC



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