Tarlac

Farmers’ group pushes for rights over 62.4 hectares of Tarlac’s Hacienda Tinang

Joann Manabat

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Farmers’ group pushes for rights over 62.4 hectares of Tarlac’s Hacienda Tinang

SHADE. The members of Makisama-Tinang gather under the shade of a tree to discuss their next steps on Friday, November 10.

MAKISAMA-Tinang

The struggle of Makisama-Tinang members to claim a portion of Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac, has spanned three decades

PAMPANGA, Philippines – A group of farmers and their families in Tarlac have called on the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to expedite their installation as owners of 62.4 hectares of the 200-hectare Hacienda Tinang. Tensions escalated in their community after the group’s hut was burned down on November 10, a year after the passing of their leader, Felino Cunanan.

Abby Bucad, spokesperson of the Malayang Kilusang Samahan ng Magsasaka ng Tinang (Makisama-Tinang), said they have been repeatedly asking DAR’s central office in Quezon City for a dialogue to resolve the issue due to the alleged ongoing harassment.

The struggle of about 90 Makisama-Tinang members and their families to claim a portion of Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac, has spanned three decades. 

Despite being jailed, threatened, and red-tagged over the years, they remain resolute in their fight for a piece of the property.

Since 2016, Makisama-Tinang farmers have been shuttling between the DAR regional office in San Fernando, Pampanga, and the central office in Manila. Two years later, DAR issued the award order and the certificate of finality. The following year, in 2019, the writ of execution was served.

RAZED TO THE GROUND. Members of Makisama-Tinang find a hut already burned down early morning on Friday, November 10. Courtesy of Makisama-Tinang.

In June 2022, DAR reaffirmed and revalidated the agrarian reform beneficiaries following a cultivation activity that resulted in a violent police dispersal and the arrest of members, including peasant advocates and journalists. They were released and acquitted of charges a few weeks later.

“Kapilan da kami talaga i-install? Para abalu da reng tau na kekami ya talaga ita, para ala ng confusion kareng aliwang tau kasi kekami ne man talaga ita,” Bucad told Rappler on Friday, November 10.

(When will they finally install us? This is crucial for people to recognize that the land rightfully belongs to us, avoiding confusion, because it genuinely belongs to us.)

Bucad said they have informed the DAR that the ongoing harassment would likely continue unless they are installed as the owner of the 62.4 hectares of Hacienda Tinang.

She said the group could not think of another motive behind the harassment but the dispute over the part of the estate. 

DESTROYED. The concrete markers of the 62-hectare portion of land surveyed by DAR within the 200-hectare hacienda are destroyed. Courtesy of Makisama-Tinang

When the hut was burned down, there was no one present, and there was no arsonist left no clues. But the incident sent chills to the farming community.

In August, the DAR surveyed the 200-hectare Hacienda Tinang to allocate 62.4 hectares for agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs). Concrete markers were put in place but as of November 6, the markers were destroyed.

Makisama-Tinang Chairperson Alvin Dimarucut said a man, who introduced himself as a government representative, went to see him and asked him to step down as the group’s leader on November 8.

He alleged that he was threatened, and told to disclose details about his income source.

Dimarucut went to the police to have the incident recorded on November 11. In the police blotter, he alleged that the man who threatened him introduced himself as a certain Ariel, supposedly from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

“Sobra na ing gagawan da pamanakot. Pilit da kung imbitahan para paksabiyan privately pero eku bisa. Sabi ku nung buri da kung paksabyan, keng mismong kubol para daramdaman da reng members,” Dimarucut told Rappler on Sunday, November 12.

(Their harassment is too much already. They kept on insisting on talking to me privately but I never agreed. I said that if they wanted to talk to me, they could talk to me at the hut so everyone would hear what they wanted to say.)

The Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) has condemned the alleged series of harassment against the members of Makisama-Tinang.

UMA said that although the land segregation was a step towards their official installation, recent circumstances have hindered the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) from receiving their land.

Ariel Casilao, UMA’s acting chairperson, voiced concern and asked, “How much damage does DAR expect before they are installed?”

Casilao urged Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III not to leave the farmers in limbo, emphasizing the deep wound of feudal injustice and the unresolved struggle for land ownership.

Estrella had promised in February to install the agrarian reform beneficiaries as owners and put an end to their long-standing struggle to acquire their portion of the land.

Rappler tried to reach Estrella through the DAR central office. Updates on this story will be provided once the interview has been granted. – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI
Download the Rappler App!