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PIA Press Release

DAR clarifies news reportage on Mati picket rally

by Elisa Dacula

MATI, Davao Oriental (2 October) -- The Department of Agrarian Reform here clarified report on the issues raised by the farmers and the Task Force Mapalad (TFM) in the staging of picket rally before the provincial office last September 26, 2007.

Provincial agrarian reform officer (PARO) Venchito Mandap expressed disappointment on news published in Mindanao Daily Mirror dated Sept. 28, 2007, entitled "Farmers storm DAR provincial office." The said article was written by Maya Padillo of the Mindanao Daily Mirror.

He said that all the issues as raised were already addressed two weeks ago during a dialogue with these farmers represented by TFM.

The dialogue was conducted at the DAR regional office XI with the presence of Undersecretary Narciso Nieto.

Mandap said that 138 out of 528 hectares covering Hacienda Maonao were already covered under the program. However, 390 hectares of which could not yet be distributed because there was already an existing infrastructure projects such as airport, terminal, runway and other buildings.

He said that DAR should also consider the rights of the landowner to retain five hectares of their lands.

Mandap said that Task Force Maonao was organized to identify and determine the areas coverable under CARP on the 390-hectare, and Omar Espina who heads the picket is one of the members of the said task force.

Mandap also clarified that the poverty of Hacienda Tolentino was already issued notice of coverage.

As to their claim that there was delay in the segregation survey of L.N. Lopez property Mandap said that it is not possible for the DAR to undergo a segregation survey when the property is still being contested and is pending before the court.

As to the issue of beneficiary selection, he said the qualification is not the membership in association but based on the order of priority stated on Section 22 of RA 6657.

He said that majority of those who joined the picket are members of the association and not actual occupants, tenants or farm workers of the area.

PARO Mandap said that he was not notified of the picket for him to heed their demand for a dialogue because he was in Caraga and Manay having a meeting with the municipal officials involving Kilusan, Kabuhayan at Kaunlarn (KKK) lands, turned-over to DAR for distribution.

He even had to return on that very night to the office just to face the group for a dialogue but refused the call.

He said that he was forced to postpone his appointments the next day only to give priority for a dialogue with them. The dialogue has no new developments and significant but a reiteration of the previous one, said Mandap.

The employees expressed disappointment over their actuations using dirty tricks in their rudeness and disrespectful attitude they have shown to the government personnel by chanting and shouting insulting words while the personnel are working.

He said that the group agreed to leave and end their picket after dialogue, but was dismayed when they spent another night on their makeshift tent enjoying their night drinking wine and hard liquor bought at the nearby store.

PARO Mandap also appeal to the media for a balance reporting and accurate data before the news is published.

The Provincial Agrarian Reform Office is located at Brgy. Dahican, City of Mati and not in the municipality of Governor Generoso. Maher Loren is the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) of Governor Generoso and not Eduardo Ignacio who is the MARO presently assigned in City of Mati. (DARPO PIO/PIA XI) [top]

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