DAR says 177 Tinang farmers to get land ownership certificates 'before June 30'

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2022 03:02 PM | Updated as of Jun 17 2022 03:34 PM

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The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on Friday said it would award certificates of land ownership to farmers in Hacienda Tinang in Tarlac province before June 30. 

Around 90 farmers and their supporters were recently arrested after destroying sugarcanes in disputed land in the area. 

At least 177 farmers are qualified to receive certificate of land ownership award (CLOAs) based on validation last month, said Agrarian Assistant Secretary John Laña. 

A total of 236 individuals claim to be beneficiaries of agrarian reform in the the area. 

"Marami kasi ang nagbenta ng kanilang rights, ang iba ay hindi nagtrabaho sa Dominican [friars] na pinanggalingan, ang iba kinonvert nila ang kanilang lupa na wala namang approval sa DAR," Laña said in a public briefing. 

(Many sold their individual rights. Some did not even work for the Dominicans who gave up the land, others converted their land without approval from DAR.)

"As far as I am concerned, nangako na kami sa mga tao na bago mag-June 30 ay kailangan mai-award na ito sa mga qualified. I am not saying na 236 for now, 177 lang ang initial qualified na listahan," he added. 

(We promised that we will award the CLOAs to qualified beneficiaries before June 30. I am not saying all 236 will get one, so far only 177 are qualified in the initial list.)

Government issued a collective CLOA on Sept. 26, 1995, Laña noted. He said he was puzzled why it has yet to be distributed to farmers. 

Another group of 400 farmers are also claiming parts of the disputed land, but have no records with DAR, Laña said. 

"Wala rin po [sila] sa register of deeds, Land Registration Authority. In short, what we only have as of this moment is only 236 individuals in the collective CLOA," the official said.

(They were not in the register of deeds or in the LRA.)

Incoming Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III earlier said he would prioritize the investigation of the controversial arrest of Tinang farmers to prevent "violence that we might not be able to control."

The Commission on Human Rights is also investigating the matter.