Welcome development for HLI workers

IT’S a welcome development and let’s all hope that everything wouldn’t put to naught this good news from the Department of Agrarian Reform which came out with the preliminary masterlist of qualified beneficiaries or over 5,365 Hacienda Luisita farmers who are now one step closer to owning a parcel of sugar farm at the 4,915.75 hectare property in Tarlac province.

According to DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, these farmers were able to present documentary evidence of qualification, such as their Social Security System membership and important security papers, the likes of their parents’ marriage, birth and even death certificates and went through a series of interviews.

Following the Supreme Court decision in April last year, the DAR chief says his agency is now capable enough to award the land to the farmers and the distribution may take before the end of May 2013.

The high tribunal ruled that Hacienda Luisita, the country biggest sugar farm belonging to the family of President Benigno Cojuangco Aquino III, must be redistributed and the family of the Cojuangcos be compensated at the land prices prevailing in 1989.

Those who passed the stringent scrutiny of DAR have been identified as HLI sugar farm workers when the property was placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program on Nov. 21, 1989, and those who were able to take part in a referendum on May 19, 1989 whether to place the property under a stock distribution option or not, the DAR chief says.

There are 1,221 others who have been placed in the provisional list because of deficiencies in their documentary evidence but they were given at least 30 days to submit other proofs of their qualification.

One important issue that must not be overlooked is the willingness of each farmer-beneficiary to till the land as stipulated in a memorandum of undertaking to be executed among DAR, the Hacienda management, the Land Bank of the Philippines and the farmers themselves. The DAR’s move to make the lists available to the public was just right for transparency and scrutiny so that questionable inclusion or exclusion and other issues could be properly addressed by the government.

Education on Wheels in Navotas  

In  Navotas  City,  the local government has been investing more on education aspect for its consti-tuents. Take for example its two alternative learning programs dubbed: “Computer Outreach Learning” or COOL and Kindergarten on Wheels or KOW which were adapted from Bagong Henerasyon Partylist aim to provide Navoteños alternative venue for learning new skills and knowledge.

“These programs aim to give our constituents a head start in their education and career,” says Mayor John Reynald Tiangco who recently received recognition from the Department of Education for his va-luable support to its Adapt-a-School Program. The programs, which will be supervised by the Navotas Hanapbuhay Center and City Social Welfare and Development Office, are now accepting applicants at their offices at the 1st floor and basement at the City Hall.

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