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DAR ready to distribute Hacienda Luisita to farm workers

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(Department of Agrarian Reform Logo)

(Department of Agrarian Reform Logo)

MANILA, July 16 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) disclosed on Tuesday that it has wrapped up the most contentious stages in the acquisition of Hacienda Luisita under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in its Third Quarterly report submitted to the Supreme Court.

In the said report, the DAR also stated that it is currently preparing for the sugar estate’s distribution to qualified beneficiaries, to be completed possibly between August and September this year in compliance with the Court’s directives related to the Hacienda Luisita case.

In a statement, the DAR reiterated that it has completed the screening and identification of more than 6,000 beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita making the cut in the Final Master List of Qualified Farmworkers-Beneficiaries (FWBs).

Each beneficiary is expected to own farm lots with an area of 6,600 square meters, more or less, from the total area of 4,099 hectares up for distribution.

According to DAR, a private survey firm hired by DAR had conducted and recently completed the consolidation and subdivision survey on a total of 5,149 hectares in Hacienda Luisita.

Of the area surveyed, the 500 hectares of the converted area and 80.51 hectares covered by SCTEX were not subject to distribution based on the Supreme Court’s final decision in the Hacienda Luisita case.

Furthermore, roughly 468.49 hectares were excluded from distribution to qualified beneficiaries. These areas cannot be distributed to individual beneficiaries because of their current use.

These excluded areas pertains to residential areas, canals, roads, firebreaks, a cemetery, buffer zones, lagoons, fishponds, eroded areas, and legal easements.

The said non-farm lots such as roads, firebreaks, fishponds, lagoons, and canals were excluded from distribution, DAR officials explained that these will still be covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) for common use of qualified beneficiaries.

“These areas will remain under RP title and will serve as common areas for beneficiaries,” DAR Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes explained.

Minus these common areas, a total of 4,099 hectares of farm lots will be distributed shortly to 6,212 qualified beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita.

The DAR, in its latest report to the Supreme Court, said the department had just finished finalizing the mechanics of allocating farm lots for those who qualified as beneficiaries in the country’s biggest sugar estate.

The allocation activity, to be conducted through the drawing of lots, is a crucial step in generating the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) that will be given to qualified farm workers in Hacienda Luisita.

Unlike in rice lands where tenants occupy specific farm lots, Delos Reyes explained that farm workers in haciendas have no permanent farm lots to claim as their own.

The valuation work of Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) on the CARP-covered area of Hacienda Luisita, meanwhile, is near completion, with the release of almost all of the Memoranda of Valuation (MOVs) on the property. (MNS)

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