By MAJOY SISCAR
MANILA – The Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) of Tarlac contradicted the commitment of Agrarian Reform secretary Conrado Estrella III to install agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) in the disputed Tinang land.
This is what the Malayang Kilusang Samahang Magsasaka ng Tinang (MAKISAMA-Tinang) said after the MARO posted a list of 237 so-called “potential beneficiaries” last February 17, while referring to the farmers simply as “claimants.”
The announcement was posted by MARO a week after Secretary Estrella, along with undersecretary Napoleon Galit of the DAR’s legal affairs office, promised to acknowledge the original agrarian reform beneficiaries that were previously validated by their office, and install them in 45 working days.
“Why is MARO hiding the fact that Tinang’s ARBs are CLOA holders?” Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) spokesperson John Milton Lozande said.
Lozande said that 178 in the original list of 236 ARBs should already be installed in their lands and the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) awarded to them as the legitimacy of their claim remains even after the illegal arrest of the Tinang 83 mid last year.
Ariel Casilao, UMA acting chairperson, for his part, challenged the national office of the agrarian reform department to take action in resolving the issue.
“We respectfully urge Sec. Estrella to clarify DAR’s position on the matter, fast-track the installation of Tinang ARBs on their 200-hectare land, and look into why MARO officials have been throwing farmers under the bus in favor of Villanueva,” Casilao said.
“Please don’t let unscrupulous officials break the hearts of our farmers all over again,” he added. (RTS, JJE)