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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 30, 2017
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Let DAR resolve petition

Leaders of the ECJ Farm Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative yesterday asked the breakaway group of 441 farmers to let the Department of Agrarian Reform resolve their petition to stop their membership in the cooperative.

The breakaway group had been forcibly entering the premises of Hacienda Caridad, San Enrique, Hda. Fe and AdelinaIn La Carlota City, Hda. Nieva in Himamaylan, Hda.Balatong in La Castellana, Isabela and Hinigaran and Hda. Soledad in Pontevedrasince August last year up to January 28, an official of the EFARBEMCO said.

The group put some illegal installations in the farms under collective CLOAs issued to EFARBEMCO. There are, more or less, 4, 654 hectares of land covered by several collective CLOAs issued in the name of EFARBEMCO, they added.

In a move that had been unanimously approved by its membershipEFARBEMCO, has used the collective CLOAs to enter into a joint venture agreement with the Cojuangco companies that used to own the land.

The breakaway group led by Noel Magan and Joel Nochepo want to push for dismembership in the cooperative.

EFARBEMCO member Alberto Buencochillo and directors Freddie Sausa, and Rey Brizuela sat down with several members of the media in Bacolod Saturday, saying they wanted to tell their side in the issues that the break-away group, which is allegedly backed by the controversial Task Force Mapalad, has been peddling.

They said they just want a peaceful resolution of the conflict. For now, they are appealing to the group not to cause harm or disturbance in the farm lands because it hampers their operations.

There were illegal installations in some of the haciendas and some farmers and their families have already been thrown into conflict due to the confusion.

The allegedly forcible and illegal installation in some of the farm lands started in August last year and continued to expand in six of the 12 haciendas until Saturday, when they were removed by teams from the EFARBEMCO.

Some of the sugarcane farms are ready for harvest but they could not do it because of the presence of the breakaway group.

Rico, a brother of Alberto Buencochillo, allegedly threatened him in a commotion that occured Saturday, at around 10 a.m., in Hacienda Caridad, Brgy. Baliwagan, San Enrique.

"Four of my brothers were in the breakaway group and two of us stayed in the cooperative. Conflict started in the family because of this issue. But I hope this will be resolved in a proper forum," he said.

Meanwhile, Sausa said that there are over 1,200 EFARBEMCO and members who continue to work collectively under their CLOAs.

"We are here to protect the property that is the source of our livelihood. We don't want conflict to prevail in the farms because this will only cause disunity and disharmony," he said, adding, "Let us all wait for the decision of DAR instead of allowing the conflict to escalate that will only boil down to our own disadvantage."

The illegal occupants in some parts of the farms have caused delays in the operation, even in the application of fertilizers as they are blocking those who come to work in them. They appealed to them let the appropriate and competent authorities help reach a solution instead of physical harm.*



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