About 300 farmers from Negros Occidental marched from the Provincial Capitol area to the Department of Agrarian Reform compound in Bacolod City yesterday to denounce what they call the “snail-paced” distribution of land to agrarian reform beneficiaries.
DAR officials in Negros Occidental admitted last month they see a 90-percent shortfall in land distribution for 2013 as they were only able to distribute 1,700 hectares as of July out of the 17,000 hectares of land they were supposed to give to farmer beneficiaries.
“With this, we are calling for the passage of the House bill 252 or the genuine agrarian reform bill, which we think can give resolution to the problems of landlessness in Negros Occidental”, John Lozande, secretary general of the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers, said.
“For us, CARPER (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension Reforms) and CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) in the past 25 years have been a failure because they were not able to resolve the problems on land reform”, Lozande said.
Aside from the slow land distribution in Negros Occidental, they also expressed concern on the impeding decrease of tariff on imported sugar by 2015, which according to Lozande would mean a lean season for them whole year-round.
The farmers and their allied organizations are also set to hold a protest in front of the Department of Labor and Employment compound today to condemn unfair labor practices, especially in some sugarcane plantations in the province.*APN