CAGAYAN DE ORO City, April 12, 2011â€”A Jesuit archbishop has urged Malacanangâ€™s intervention in the ongoing dispute over a 111-hectare agrarian reform estate in an upland barangay here and to give assistance to the victims of the dispute.
This, as an agrarian reform undersecretary directed the executive director of the Center for Land Use Policy, Planning & Implementation (CLUPPI) to immediately provide information on the status of the application for conversion of the estate.
Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J., D.D., said that the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro (ACDO) has found out that several members of the Donggay-Bermoy faction of the Palalan CARP Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PCFMPC) were victims of illegal demolition and illegal detention.
â€œWe are earnestly requesting your administration to investigate the matter and protect / assist the victims as investigation and court litigation processes are still in progress. Your humanitarian act in addressing this problem will not only give them justice but will also contribute something for a lasting peace in Mindanao,â€ Ledesma said in his March 29 letter to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.
In his letter, which was also furnished to Sen. Teofisto â€œTGâ€ Guingona III, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, and Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes, the prelate narrated that â€œmany families in the above-mentioned place are now rendered homeless with insufficient means of basic necessities as security guards of very powerful and influential buyers with armed escorts continue to control the victimsâ€™ properties without any police or military intervention, despite court orders to stop them.â€
Last month, couple Fernando â€œDatu Dalangpananâ€ G. Bermoy, 63, and Leona T. Bermoy, 57, victims of the illegal enforcement of a demolition order by the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), filed criminal complaints before the Provincial Prosecutorâ€™s Office against lawyer Florencio Narido Jr. Beverly Domo, and 23 others for arson, robbery, illegal detention, illegal demolition, grave coercion and malicious mischief.
The couple also demanded a total of P1.130 million in damages (P800,000 estimated cost of properties destroyed and P330,000 estimated cost of stolen items).
Included in the complaint are the manager or president of the Dasia Security Agency and 10 of its security guards, who allegedly conspired with Narido and Domo in harassing, intimidating, threatening and coercing the Bermoys into leaving the 111-hectare land so that the faction of Narido and Domo will be free to take control of the land and sell it.
Datu Dalangpanan Bermoy is presently the leader of the Lumbia Tribal Association (LUTA). He is the former chairperson of the Palalan CARP Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative (PCFMPC) while his wife, Leona, is presently a member of the PCFMPCâ€™s Election Committee.
The dispute over the 111-hectare estate awarded to the PCFMPC on September 8, 1992 started when the Narido-Domo faction, who want to convert the land for development purposes, sold the estate to Joseph Tilap of Mt. Carmel Engineering Services for P250 million (at a price of P250 per square meter) in the name of the PCFMPC.
Narido earlier said that his faction decided to sell the estate so that investors will develop the land because as an agricultural land, it has not seen any development since it was awarded to the PCFMPC.
DAR Undersecretary for Support Services Operation Jerry â€œJingâ€ Pacturan, meanwhile, stressed that â€œthe conversion application, if approved, would dislocate the ARBs/actual occupants and farm cultivators.â€
In his March 7 memorandum, Pacturan ordered CLUPPI Executive Director Rolando Cua â€œto provide the [Greenminds, Inc.] with factual information on the status of said conversion application, if legally possible.â€
Pacturan also noted that Greenminds, in coordination with the PCFMPC under chairman Andrew Donggay, have developed part of the estate into a model ecological demonstration farm dubbed UMANIKA or Uma Ni Kalinaw (Farm for Peace).
The purely organic Farm for Peace is growing at least 36 kinds of vegetables and 50 different herbs. It also has a Robusta coffee nursery that supply planting materials for Nestleâ€™s coffee farms, and a 40-hectare mango orchard and some cashew trees. (Bong D. Fabe)