ARBs dialogue with DAR set today

BACOLOD City – A dialogue themed “last straw” is scheduled today, Mar 9, 2019, between members of the Alliance of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries-Negros and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John R. Castriciones at the Negros Occidental (Onyok Velasco) Multi-Purpose Gym at 9 a.m.

The dialogue is in line with the call of President Rodrigo Duterte for fast tracking and reviewing of the Agrarian Reform Program.

The Alliance of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (AARB)-Negros is an allied organization of already 40 associations and individuals from Negros South, Central and North. Without a specific political color, the binding and uniting factor is common problems and experiences in land reform issues.

Ma. Nida Geanga of the AARB Secretariat said “We expected the DAR to be our common friend and our instrument in the smooth implementation of the CARP law.”

But she noted that “all our allied forces, the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, have sad experiences such as chop-chop titles, erroneous and defective NOCs (notices of coverages), the use of dummies, overpricing, landowner resistance, delaying and denying tactics by DAR personnel, DAR personnel being involved in negotiating leaseback, mortgaged, selling of CLOAs (certificate of land ownership and acceptance) and DAR personnel having their relatives unlawfully inserted as beneficiaries.”

“What is even worse are experiences of harassments, use of guns and goons, beneficiaries imprisoned, a few hundred having been served warrants of arrest, several beneficiaries and leaders killed, the Sagay Massacre and the killing of Agrarian Reform Lawyer Benjamin Ramos. Nearly all our allied forces have cases pending between 10-20 years. Our simple assessment is that CARP and CARPER were a failure.”

Geanga added that “our alliance is grounded and knows that the problems we have experienced are just the tip of the iceberg”.

“In fact, we have no knowledge of agrarian reform cases which were smoothly implemented.”

She said that the common feedback of the agrarian reform beneficiaries is that the DAR system is corrupted and is not serious in implementing the CARP program.

She lamented that “most of our allied forces are exhausted and had no more trust in any solution coming from the DAR  and expressed their sentiments for other options.”

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