• Luisita tracts allocated to 6,000 farm workers

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    The government started on Wednesday the allocation of farm-lots to qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said on Tuesday.

    DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes said that their personnel will commence with the allocation of farm lots to more than 6,000 farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita, saying qualified ARBs will finally know the specific parcel of lands they will own for good.

    Delos Reyes noted that the allocation of farm lots, to be conducted through the drawing of lots, is a crucial step in generating the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) that will be given to qualified farmworkers possibly between August and September.

    “Unlike in rice lands where tenants occupy specific farm lots, farmworkers in haciendas have no permanent farm lots to claim as their own,” he said, noting that allocation of farm lots is necessary to identify the specific parcel of land that each qualified beneficiary will own.

    Delos Reyes said the lot allocation activity will begin in Barangay Cut-cut, Tarlac City, and will continue in the succeeding days until all barangays of Hacienda Luisita are covered.

    The DAR-Provincial Office in Tarlac estimated that it would take them until August 21 to complete all the lot allocation in the vast sugar estate.

    Hacienda Luisita is composed of 10 barangays in three municipalities in the province of Tarlac, namely: Barangays Cut-Cut, Bantog, Balete, Asturias, Lourdes and Mapalacsiao in Tarlac City; Parang, Pando and Mabilog in the town of Concepcion; and Barangay Motrico in La Paz town.

    Delos Reyes explained that the allocation of farm lots to the farmworker-beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita would be conducted using a “tambiolo” to ensure fairness and transparency in the proceedings.

    More than 6,200 farmworkers were identified by the DAR as qualified to become agrarian reform beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita. 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.

    In addition, around 400.87 hectares of the landholding will also be covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) for common use of the qualified beneficiaries. These include firebreaks (which will also serve as access roads to beneficiaries’ farm-lots), canals, fishponds, eroded areas, roads, creeks/irrigation, a lagoon, railroad tracks, legal easements, concrete structures, and a buffer zone. These areas cannot be distributed to them because of their current use.

    During the drawing of lots, the beneficiary whose name is drawn from the tambiolo will be given a Lot Allocation Certificate (LAC), which will indicate the farmworker’s name as well as the lot number for the farm lot that will be allocated to him.

    The LAC of beneficiaries who are not present and who did not send a representative will be kept in the meantime by the DAR. The beneficiary concerned may later claim the certificate at the DAR-Tarlac office.

    After receiving the certificate, the beneficiary will then be oriented on his rights and obligations with respect to the CARP-awarded land. He then reads and signs the Application to Purchase and Farmers’ Undertaking (APFU), which signifies his intention to accept the duties and responsibilities of a qualified beneficiary.

    “We have to remind our beneficiaries: only those who signed the APFU will be given land,” delos Reyes said.

    He said the results of the lot allocation activities will be posted in each barangay and municipality covered by Hacienda Luisita as well as at the DAR-Tarlac Provincial Office.

    After the lot allocation process, delos Reyes explained that the DAR would generate the CLOAs using the Lot Allocation Certificates and other pertinent documents including the APFU signed by the beneficiaries. The CLOAs will then be forwarded to the Register of Deeds for registration and eventual distribution to beneficiaries.

    James Konstantin Galvez

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