Negros Occidental Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday appealed for sobriety from farmer's organizations affiliated with the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers that had warned they would take over areas in Murcia, where the Negros First Ranch is located.
The group has claimed that the area is covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, and said they will do so by the end of this month, if the Department of Agrarian Reform fails to resolve the issue.
“The fact that the DAR has already requested the provincial government to submit more documents in connection with their claims of the land, I think, shows that things are moving,” Lacson, who met representatives of the farmer's organizations last month, said.
DAR Assistant Secretary Teofilo Inocencio had earlier assured immediate resolution of the claim of the NFSW that the land is covered by CARP.
The provincial government of Negros Occidental, however, maintains that the land acquisition and improvement of the property was legal.
The NFSW claims that 155 hectares of land in Hacienda Ilimnan Brgy. Santa Rosa, and 55 more hectares in Hacienda Arloc, Brgy. Canlandog, all in Murcia, have been covered by CARP.
Lacson said he understands the sentiments of farmers who want a faster resolution. But there are processes to go through, noting that “most of the time, it takes time.”
Unfazed by the threat, Provincial Legal Officer Jose Maria Valencia said “To enter the property for purposes of agrarian reform is a reason for disqualification, so they should think about it”.
The DAR asked the provincial government to submit certain documents to support the Capitol's petition for exemption from Carp coverage of the land where the Negros First Ranch is located.* GPB