Farmers under the National Federation of Sugar Workers claiming ownership of a land at the boundaries of haciendas Ilimnan and Arloc in Murcia town, where the Negros First Ranch is located, tried to enter the area again yesterday to plant their crops but were prevented by the police.
John Lozande, NFSW secretary general, said they wrote to Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. asking him if he could allow the farmers to temporarily plant their crops at a 12-hectare rice field within the ranch, while the provincial government’s application to exempt the area from Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program coverage is still pending.
Lozande said the letter was endorsed by Ernie Larida, head of the Bacolod Diocese Social Action Center and Murcia Mayor Andrew Montelibano after a meeting earlier this month. However, until yesterday they have not received any reply from the governor, prompting them to enter the government-owned property again, he said.
Personnel from the Center for Land Use Planning and Implementation of the Department of Agrarian Reform went to the province last month to inspect the contested land and see whether it should be included or excluded from CARP coverage.
Lozande added that they well meet with Teresita Mabunay, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer for Northern Negros Occidental, tomorrow for updates on the application for CARP exemption of the provincial government.
Provincial Legal Officer Jose Maria Valencia said they have not received the letter from the farmers, but if they had he doubts that the governor will grant their request.
Valencia said some of the farmers belonging to the NFSW claiming ownership to the land are actually not legitimate Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, while others are not from Haciendas Ilimnan and Arloc.*APN
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