Farmers groups urge DAR to stop conversion of CARPable lands

FARMERS groups on Monday  condemned the illegal conversion of more than 8 hectares of agricultural lands under the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in Sitio Bulak, San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal.

The national farmers organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and Katipunan ng mga Samahan ng Magbubukid sa Montalban (KASAMA-MO, an affiliate of KMP)   reported that the Baque Corporation started bulldozing the lands on November 2010. But was stopped when the farmers from Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Tabing Ilog (SMTI) barricaded the place.

“We condemn the Baque Corporation and T. Fernando Enterprises for bulldozing the area, cutting down the banana plants and scraped the earth surface, without notice though they were CLOA holders.  We blame this on the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ or CARPer as this law did not give any protection to the farmer-beneficiaries,” said Wilfredo Marbella, KMP deputy secretary general for internal affairs.

The group said the affected farmers were holders of Certificate of Land  Ownership Award (CLOA) or beneficiaries of CARP  the land reform program of former President Corazon Aquino.  They were tilling the lands for about 30 years but now they are being driven off by T. Fernando Enterprises and Baque Corporation.

KASAMA-MO and SMTI said that they reported the illegal conversion to the Municipal of Agrarian Reform Office (MARO), Rodriguez, Rizal and has decided in favor of the farmers. According to the MARO memorandum dated January 11, 2011 address to PARO II Joselito Nathaniel Diaz re: report on illegal conversion , “the lands were covered by CARP on February 5, 2008… there was no application for conversion/exemption from the landowner nor and any Order of Conversion/Exemption received by this office….the undersigned respectfully recommend for a proper course of action to protect the rights of the farmers-occupants.”

“When CARPer was passed two years ago, there were increasing reports of landgrabbing and demolition of farmers’ communities such as in Hacienda Yulo in Laguna, Hacienda Looc in Batangas, Bgy. Sibul, San Miguel Bulacan, La Paz, Tarlac, Tungkong Mangga, Bulacan, Bgy. Central in Hacienda Luisita and more,” he said.

“Filipino farmers are in worse danger now as CARPer allowed the rampant cancellations of COAs, CLTs and Emancipation Patents (EPs).  We also believe that these illegal conversions will give way to Public-Private Partnership program for foreign investors and big landlords as encouraged president Noynoy Aquino,” he added.

To support the claims of the farmers and protect their lands from illegal conversion, they will put up a barricade on February 21, 2011 in Sitio Bulak, San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal.-D’Jay Lazaro


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