Batangas Farmers To Rally In Manila

January 22, 2008 at 4:57 pm | Posted in 1 | 1 Comment
MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 22, 2008) – Dozens of farmers are threatening to stage a rally in front of the Philippine agrarian reform headquarters in Manila to demand that government place more than 100 hectares of lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Vic Ayap, president of Laiya Ibabaw Samahang Magsasaka (LISAMAG), asked Agrarian Reform chief Nasser Pangandaman to act on the plight of the farmers over the 123-hectae lands owned by Hennessy Development Corporation (HDC).
Pangandaman last year ordered the provincial agrarian reform office “to immediately proceed with the acquisition and distribution of subject property to qualified farmer-beneficiaries.” But until now the Department of Agrarian reform failed to act on the matter.
Ayap said the property owner allegedly failed to comply with the conversion order issued on June 17, 1998 by then DAR Secretary Ernesto Garilao. He said some 50 farmers from the village of Laiya-Ibabaw in San Juan town will set up a camp in front of the DAR headquarters in Quezon City.
He said HDC had five years from issuance of the order to undertake development in the property for eco-tourism, including the construction of a five-star hotel, but it was not able to construct a single road or structure.
“The conversion period had lapsed in 2003. Some former tenants and a number of new tillers had already planted crops to the property. We are asking DAR to immediately issue a notice of coverage for the property so that it can be distributed to the current tillers,” Ayap said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner newspaper.
He said all petitions by HDC for extension of the conversion period had already been dismissed by DAR.
On September 5, 2005, HDC had filed a request for extension of time to develop the property, but DAR denied the request in an order issued on December 21, 2006.
In denying HDC’s request, DAR said that: “no substantial development was made on the property, thus violating the conversion order; the subject property remains agricultural; and iii) the request for extension was filed beyond the period allowed by law, or two years after the conversion period had lapsed.
HDC filed a motion for reconsideration in January 2007, but Pangandaman dismissed the motion on August 21, saying that aside from the lapsed period, HDC also failed to meet some requirements, including the posting of performance bond, submission of the joint venture agreement between landowner and developer, proofs of financial capability of the developer, profile of the developer, and financial statements, among others.
Ayap said that they are willing to “walk on our knees if necessary to compel DAR to issue the notice of coverage for the disputed property.” (Lani Factor)

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  1. Suffice to say that the farmers are tired of broken promises by the government and now they’re saying, “Tama na, sobra na, palitan na!” The farmers have finally realized that many of the landowners are somehow connected with (and protected by?) the lawmakers and the government officials. I recently picked up the book, Rulemakers by Shiela Coronal and PCIJ – required reading for those who want to make sense of politics and policies (especially agrarian reform) in our country.


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