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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesThursday, July 5, 2012
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DAR slammed for ‘inaction’
on Polo Plantation petition


Farm workers, who petitioned for inclusion/exclusion proceedings with regard the Polo Coconut Plantation Inc. in Tanjay City, have lambasted the seeming inaction of the Department of Agrarian Reform on their plea.

The workers, who have organized themselves into ARIBA (Aksyong Rebolusyonayo ug Inisyatiba sa Benepisaryo sa Agraryo or a Cebuano acronym that stands for revolutionary action and initiative for agrarian reform beneficiaries), held a dialog Friday with the provincial DAR in Dumaguete City, to follow up on their request for an early resolution to the petition they filed on June 6.

The petition calls for the inclusion of qualified ARBs and the exclusion of disqualified persons from the landholding in Polo that is owned by former Senator Rene Espina Jr.

It aims to finally settle the long overdue dispute over the property that has been covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the group said.

Noli Alcantara, auditor of ARIBA, read the manifesto of the group that urged the DAR to “dish out justice to the true beneficiaries of PCPI”.

The group told the media that farmer-beneficiaries earlier given Certificates of Land Ownership Award by the DAR are not even original workers of the Espina property.

Some of them only surfaced after they had been given the CLOA while others are not even from Tanjay City or other parts of Negros Oriental, the ARIBA officials said.

The CLOA holders have organized themselves into the Polo Plantation Agrarian Reform Multi-purpose Cooperative, with a number of them also aligned with the RIFFO-MARA.

Some of the holders are camped on parcels of land awarded to them.

However, the ARIBA said a status quo prevails at the plantation as the CLOA holders are not allowed to harvest the sugarcane that the “actual farm workers” are claiming to be rightfully theirs.*JFP

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