Tension grips Carp beneficiaries in Moises Padilla-A A +A
Saturday, February 9, 2013
TENSION arose among three groups of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) beneficiaries in Hacienda San Benito, Barangay Crossing Magallon, Moises Padilla due to plans to forcibly install beneficiaries by the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (Paro) of Negros Occidental.
Hacienda workers and Carp beneficiaries belonging to the San Benito Employees and Laborers Multi-Purposes Cooperative barricaded all possible entrances leading to the more than 304 hectares sugarcane plantation to prevent entry of their rival group allegedly in connivance with officials of the agrarian reform office of the province.
According to Erlito Batallion, hacienda overseer and designated spokesperson of the group, they received information that the Paro created Special Task Force Hacienda San Benito to impose the implementation of an "expansion" of the Carp coverage on the contested property.
Batallon said they were informed in December last year that Florentino Siladan, acting Paro officer for South Negros, created a special task force to oversee and facilitate the expansion of the coverage area of Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) holders on the property.
Batallon said they were called for a meeting sometime last year by the special task force but were surprised that the meeting was presided by one Atty. May Cuevas, who claimed to be the consultant of the task force, and not any of the officials of Paro.
He said Cuevas never solicited their opinion and had insisted that the three groups of beneficiaries adhere to the decision of the task force.
Batallon insisted that the task force or the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) cannot impose anything related to the Carp issue in San Benito, as they have a pending petition before the Office of the President on the inclusion and exclusion of legitimate beneficiaries and that DAR, through former secretary Naser Pangdaman, already declared having no jurisdiction on the San Benito case and only the Office of the President could decide on the case.
Instead of heeding their request, the special task force had scheduled an installation of the Carp extension on property last Wednesday, prompting them to barricade the property and prepare for any eventualities, Batallon said.
"We are ready to defend our right over the property as we, and other legitimate beneficiaries will fight to the end to prevent illegitimate claimants of the property who were inserted to the list of beneficiaries but had never toiled to make the land productive," the farm overseer said.
He said that after the Lacson family signified their intension to have their property, 304 hectares of sugarcane plantation, covered by Carp in the 1990s, workers and laborers of the hacienda registered themselves with the Paro.
Members of another group also organized among themselves and created the Assosasyon sang mga Benepisaryo sa Repormang Agraryo sa San Isidro Labrador (Ambramsil) and the Crossing Magallon Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
Batallon said they were surprised that in 1994, a total of 106 beneficiaries belonging to the two factions were identified as beneficiaries and their names where included in a CLOA mother title.
In 2003, rival groups were forcibly installed by DAR but it was short-lived as tension rises and one beneficiary was shot to death.
Rumors about another attempt by DAR to install "illegitimate beneficiaries" happened on the following years but employees and laborers of the hacienda belonging to the San Benito Multi-Purpose Cooperative barricaded the property surroundings and all attempt failed as of Friday. (TDE)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 09, 2013.