DESPITE the dismissal of its petition for exclusion by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Provincial Government will not vacate the property occupied by the Negros First Ranch in Barangay Sta. Rosa, Murcia town.
Provincial Legal Officer Jose Maria Valencia said on Tuesday that Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. will comply with the recommendation of the DAR to file a petition for conversion of the purchased properties.
However, he will also advise that they include a manifestation that all the documents they have submitted in their petition for exclusion will be part of the petition for conversion, Valencia added.
“How can we convert an agricultural land which is also used for an agricultural project of the province,” he pointed out.
The DAR dismissed for lack of merit Capitol’s application for exclusion for an area of about 50 hectares purchased from George C. Arguelles on March 30, 2012, and for an area of 97.2865 hectares purchased from the heirs of Alfonso Arguelles, heirs of Rosalina Exaltado, heirs of Alicia Arguelles, Lydia Arguelles, and Fernando Arguelles on December 29, 2010.
However, the DAR will issue a certificate of exemption to the third parcel of lot, spanning 12 hectares.
All these areas are being occupied by the Negros First Ranch.
Valencia added: “What happened after so many years, their decision is that the exclusion petition is not a proper remedy, but rather a petition for conversion. But my question is, why did they approve one title out of the three titles.”
He said the petition for conversion requires a lot of documents and part of those documents were already submitted to DAR in their petition for exclusion.
They should consider those documents as part of the conversion, Valencia further said.
He also said that the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) who filed claims over the properties should have to be validated because when the province took over these lots there were no ARBs involved.