Farmers to become landowners after 23 years of legal struggle

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Thursday, March 13, 2014


A FARMERS’ group in Barangay Puerto is optimistic that what they’re fighting for more than two decades will be granted to them, following a positive response from the Department of Agrarian Reform in Northern Mindanao (DAR-10).

Jose N. Pabonita, president of the Maitum Free Farmers Association (MFFA) in Sitio Maitum, Upper Puerto, said DAR-10 has already started the perimeter land use mapping (Plum) where the agency would map the land actually occupied, planted and maintained by around 100 of the farmer-members for years.

The Plum, Pabonita said, would then be used as the basis of the agrarian reform department to issue them the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (Cloa).

The mapping, which actually started on Tuesday morning and ongoing at press time, is the second to the last requirement for them to acquire the Cloa, Noel Supremo, of DAR provincial office in Misamis Oriental, said.

Supremo together with the MFFA planned the implementation of the Plum on Monday, March 10.

The group has expected the Plum would start on Monday, where he requested police presence in the area in case commotion erupts between the two groups that claim the 109.2343-hectare agricultural land which once belonged to the late Don Ramon Roces in Maitum.

He said aside from MFFA, another group, which he did not name, is also claiming the land they have been contesting for years.

He said officers from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) arrived from a distance during the Plum.

But Supremo said only those agency-verified Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) are entitled to own a Cloa.

Pabonita said it has been 23 years since they fought for their rights to own the land.

“Pero hangtud karon wala pa gyod namo makuha ug madawat ang Cloa gikan sa DAR, 23 na ka tuig ang nilabay (It has already been 23 years and yet we haven’t received our Cloa),” the association president said.

When asked what cause the delay, Pabonita replied: “Wala gyod ko mahibalo ngano nga nalangan kay dunay higayon nga nahuman na unta apan kalit lang nawala ang folder namo (I actually have no idea why it was delayed since there was a time that it was almost completed when suddenly our folder got misplaced).”

Chapter 2 of Republic Act No. 6657, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, states that all alienable and disposable lands of the public domain devoted to or suitable for agriculture are covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform program (Carp).

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 13, 2014.

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