“The certificate of land ownership award (CLOA) is a mere scrap of paper. It only means that from now on, the so-called farmer beneficiaries will have to pay the government for 30 years without assurance that they will own the land.” – Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – The largest organization of farmers in the country downplayed the distribution of certificates of land ownership award (CLOA) to 952 farmers in Bondoc Peninsula.
Reacting to a report by Interaksyon.com, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) branded the move as “a grandiose publicity stunt for the fake Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).”
The Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture, National Anti-Poverty Commission, and the Commission on Human Rights distributed the CLOAs in the 480 hectares of the vast farmland owned by the scions of the late Don Domingo Reyes in the towns of San Narciso, Buenavista and San Andres in Quezon province.
In a statement, Anakpawis chairman and KMP deputy secretary general Randall Echanis said: “The CLOA is a mere scrap of paper. It only means that from now on, the so-called farmer beneficiaries will have to pay the government for 30 years without assurance that they will own the land.”
Under the government’s agrarian reform program, farmer-beneficiaries have to pay land amortization. On the average, the cost of agricultural land is pegged at P235,000 per hectare, according to KMP.
“Upon failure to pay and using other anti-farmer provisions of the sham CARPER follows the cancellation and confiscation of CLOAs and the disqualification of the farmer-beneficiaries. In other words, [it is] government-sponsored land-grabbing,” the peasant leader said.
Echanis cited cases involving hundreds of thousands of hectares of lands where farmers received CLOAs, paid for the lands but were later on “cancelled and confiscated by the government .” These included the Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas and Araneta lands in Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.
Echanis said lands covered by CARPER in the whole province of Nueva Ecija are subjects of foreclosure orders by the DAR.
Citing figures from IBON Foundation, Echanis said that in 2004 alone, more than 2,000 Emancipation Patents (EPs) and CLOAs, covering 380,000 hectares of land, were cancelled.
In 2007, the DAR reported that 5,049 EPs and 103,092 CLOAs were already canceled involving 204,579 hectares of land.
“Obviously, the CLOA distribution in Hacienda Reyes is a last ditch effort by the Aquino government to revive the dying CARPER and deceive the Filipino peasantry,” Echanis said.
The Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) also said farmers under the banner of Pinagkaisang Lakas ng Magbubukid sa Quezon (Piglas) “have enough basis to oppose CARPER due to DAR’s record of CLOA cancellations.”
“Even Sec. [Virgilio] Delos Reyes knows this truth,” Axel Pinpin, Kasama-TK secretary general, said.
Kasama-TK deemed that the CLOA distribution “has something to do with the coming elections.”
The group said the Agriculture Secretary’s family members will run for governor, congressman and mayor in the province of Quezon. “They need that kind of show.”
The Kasama-TK said Anti-Poverty Secretary and Akbayan leader Joel Rocamora, as head of the Task Force on Coco Levy Funds, “is dipping his hands into the fund owned by small coconut farmers.”
“Akbayan, the number one promoter of the bogus CARP Extension with Reforms, will run for partylist and its leader, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, aspires to become a senator,” Axel Pinpin, Kasama-TK secretary general, said.
Pinpin said “Akbayan collaborates with pseudo-farmer’s organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bondoc Peninsula or KMBP in deceiving the farmers.” He added that KMBP members are recruited into the Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) and work with the Philippine Army in harassing farmers opposed to CARPER.
Echanis said the Aquino government’s “Mulanay project” has been tainted with violence.
“Since last year, more than eight army battalions were deployed to wreak havoc and terror on the lives of Bondoc Peninsula farmers struggling for genuine land reform and to reclaim the multi-billion coco levy funds,” Echanis said.
Farmers from Bondoc Peninsula were forced to evacuate from their homes for fear of military operations.
“This clearly shows that CARPER forms a significant part of Aquino’s internal security plan Bayanihan aimed to terrorize and deceive farmers and drive them away from the path of militant struggle for a genuine and truly distributive agrarian reform,” Echanis said.
Moreover, the KMP and Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM) questioned the mandate of the Presidential Task Force on Coco Levy Funds headed by Rocamora.
The NAPC is implementing the Anti-Poverty Roadmap for Coconut and the Coconut Industry Development. According to the report, the CLOA distribution is funded by NAPC’s so-called roadmap.
The NAPC’s so-called roadmap includes the CARPER implementation and the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).”
Coconut farmers under the banner of CLAIM and KMP have been opposing the use of P11.7 billion from coco levy fund for NAPC’s Roadmap.
“No executive or administrative order created this task force that is now playing God over small coconut farmers’ money. It seems that Aquino’s task force on the coco levy funds headed by Rocamora was created only through a rap session. If there’s any EO or AO, it was concealed from the real owners of the coco levy funds,” KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella, said.
“Aquino and Rocamora did not contribute a single cent to the coco levy funds. The NAPC is nothing but a redundant office created only for political accommodation and economic concession to allies of whoever is the occupant of the Palace,” Marbella, also CLAIM national coordinator, said.
In a dialogue earlier this month between CLAIM and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the commission said the Php56.5 billion from the 27 percent from San Miguel Corp. is deposited in escrow by the PCGG at the Bureau of Treasury (BTr). The Php13.5 billion dividend earning is with the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) deposited as special drawing account (SDA) and earning 3.5% to 3.6% interest.