DAR set to install CARP beneficiaries to Polo Plantation in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental

July 26, 2012 9:45 pm 

DUMAGUETE CITY, July 26 -– The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is set to install 102 qualified farmer beneficiaries (FBs) to the Polo Coconut Plantation, Inc. (PCPI) in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental on Friday with hopes that the activity will be peaceful and orderly.

Stephen Leonidas, provincial agrarian reform officer (PARO) of Negros Oriental, confirmed that DAR Undersecretary Narciso Nieto had ordered the installation of the 102 beneficiaries, who had been handed Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) in 2004, and who belong to the original 147 FBs of the Polo Plantation Agrarian Reform Multi-purpose Cooperative (POPARMUCO) and MARA.

Since the distribution of CLOAS about eight years ago, attempts to install the farmer-beneficiaries were futile following near-violent confrontations between opposing groups.

The Polo Plantation became controversial since the late 1990s until the present after it was placed under coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) but whose owner, former Sen. Rene Espina, Sr. had rejected the move saying the property was not qualified for land reform it being declared an economic zone.

Of the 147 original CLOA holders, 45 have been disqualified following a petition for exclusion filed by the ARIBA, another group of farmers claiming to be the genuine workers of Polo Plantation and who also petitioned for inclusion of more than 100 of its members.

The DAR, according to Leonidas, had announced it had qualified 109 ARIBA members but they could not yet be installed on Friday pending the order of finality from the DAR secretary. He said he has asked ARIBA members to allow for a peaceful installation Friday and to refrain from blocking the activity despite tight security preparations.

Leonidas said he has held a final coordinating conference with the Philippine National Police and Philippine Army to deploy ample security forces to the estate to make sure there will be no untoward incidents.

Also, the PNP in Negros Oriental has assured it will establish a police detachment at the Polo Plantation to prevent unnecessary unfriendly confrontations between the different farmer-beneficiary groups, Leonidas said.

According to Leonidas, installation of CARP beneficiaries is usually peaceful and problems only arise afterwards once the government authorities, such as the DAR and the PNP, have left.

Some 393 hectares of the Polo Plantation have been covered by the CARP, with the total land area to be divided among the 102 FBs to be installed tomorrow, and part of it to be reserved for the 109 ARIBA members and even the 45 disqualified FBs as there is yet no finality in their disqualification, Leonidas said. (PNA) LAP/JFP

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