Amid ‘Maring,’ last batch of Luisita lots distributed

At least 300 more farmers refuse to pay for their lots, saying the government should award the lots under the agrarian reform program for free

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) distributed the last batch of lot certificates to more than 800 Hacienda Luisita farmworker-beneficiaries on Monday, August 19.

This happened at the height of heavy downpour brought by the combined strength of the southwest monsoon and Tropical Storm Maring. 

As of Monday, at least 90% of 6,212 farm workers who had been identified as qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries from all 10 barangays of Hacienda Luisita have received their Lot Allocation Certificates and signed their Applications to Purchase and Farmer’s Undertaking (APFUs), DAR said in an August 23 press release.

The AFPUs authorize the Land Bank of the Philippines to prepare the schedule of the lots’ amortization. 

Both documents are required before DAR can award to farmers their Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs). 

In April 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that just compensation must be paid to the Cojuangco family for the sugar estate based on its 1989 values. 

This required each farmer worker to pay between P60,000 to P80,000 for their lots, which are allocated through tambiolos or raffle, in 30 years. DAR said each beneficiary will own farm lots with an area of about 6,600 sq m. 

At least 300 Hacienda Luisita workers have refused to pay for their lots and demanded that the government award the lots under the agrarian reform program for free. 

READ: Thousands lose out in farm reform

In a statement, DAR Undersecretary Anthony Parungao warned those who would refuse to sign their APFUs that could be stricken off the list of beneficiaries and be replaced by other qualified beneficiaries. 

He said farmers can only become full owners of their land if they have paid their amortization in full. 

“The APFU is not a new animal bred by this administration. The signing of APFU has long been required since the first day of CARP implementation in 1988,” Parungao said. 

DAR said those who have not claimed their lot certificates are advised to go to the DAR Provincial Office in Tarlac. 

The distribution of the lots began in July 3, more than 30 years after the government first attempted to take back  Hacienda Luisita from the Cojuangcos. – Rappler.com