Luisita farmers to seek suspension of farmland raffle
Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2013 - 12:00am

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines  â€“ The Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) and the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) are set to ask the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) from raffling off the Hacienda Luisita property to land reform beneficiaries.

This developed as DAR started yesterday the raffle of lands in Barangay Cutcut, Tarlac.

The farmers’ groups said they would ask the SC to hold DAR in contempt for violating its order to distribute the 4,915-hectare property owned by the family of President Aquino.

Another farmers’ group, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), noted the presence of armed policemen and members of the special weapons and tactics teams (SWAT) during the raffle draw.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said the drawing of lots in Barangay Cutcut was the first in a series of lot allocation activities that would be conducted almost daily until all villages of Hacienda Luisita are covered.

“Who in his right mind would accept this? President Aquino is making land reform a mere lottery affair. This is total mockery of land reform and contempt of us farmworkers,” said Ambala chair Floria Sibayan.

The farmer-beneficiaries were given Lot Allocation Certificates (LACs) indicating the location of their individual farm lots.

The DAR-provincial Office in Tarlac estimated that it would take them until Aug. 21 this year to complete the lot allocation activities.

Sibayan said the scheme angered farmworkers, as the raffle system would take them away from the lands they are already tilling.

She cited the case of the beneficiaries in Barangay Cutcut who have been cultivating some 200 hectares of rice under the so-called “bungkalan system” since 2005.

She accused the DAR of reducing the land reform coverage in the hacienda from 4,915 hectares as declared by the high tribunal to only 4,099 hectares. 

“DAR has excluded lands claimed by the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), Centenary Holding and SCTEx. DAR is planning to shrink down the size of land by about 400 hectares which would result in the reduction of an average of 0.66 hectare of areas to be awarded to each beneficiary,” she said. – With Rhodina Villanueva, Ric Sapnu

 

 

 

AGRARIAN REFORM SECRETARY VIRGILIO ALYANSA AMBALA ASYENDA LUISITA BARANGAY CUTCUT CENTENARY HOLDING DAR DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM HACIENDA LUISITA PRESIDENT AQUINO
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