MANILA, March 4, 2013—A group of farmers urged President Benigno Aquino III to order the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to install farmers in 671 hectares less contentious lands.
Task Force Mapalad (TFM), a national federation of farmers, farm workers and individuals working for agrarian reform and rural development reiterated its call to the government to immediately install hundreds of farmers in 671.2978 hectares of land in Negro Island and Mindanao which deemed to be less controversial.
TFM said farmers in 10 landholdings in Negros Island and one each in Davao Oriental and Bukidnon provinces have secured installation orders as of June 2012 but are still waiting for the DAR’s action to have themselves installed in those agricultural land.
The group stressed that USec. Anthony Parungao, DAR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs had issued a legal opinion last May 12, 2011 arguingthat in the case of ARCALE Estate in Davao Oriental, the installation may proceed since no temporary restraining order had been issued against the act despite pending cases in the Court of Appeals (CA) and the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 12 of Lupon, Davao Oriental, in order not to delay the process of land acquisition and distribution (LAD).
Former Usec. Narciso Nieto for Field Operations also cited the same opinion for installation of farmers in Davao Oriental and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes himself argued in his letter to the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo dated July 26, 2011 that the Supreme Court had ruled that no court aside from itself shall have the jurisdiction to issue TROs and preliminary injunctions against the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council, the DAR and any other authorized or designated agencies in any case or dispute arising from the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
TFM Negros through its president Alberto Jayme asked De Los Reyes to invoke the same opinion and judicial principle in order to speed up the installation of farmers in the agricultural lands.
“If DAR could use the same in installing farmers in 2011 and 2012, then it stands to reason that it could be invoked now,” Jayme said. (Jandel Posion)