TARLAC CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has distributed certificates of land ownership award (CLOA) to the last batch of 171 land reform beneficiaries at Hacienda Luisita.
Agrarian Reform Sec. John Castriciones led the granting of the CLOAs to the farm workers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
The sugarcane estate belonging to the Aquino-Cojuangco families covers 4,915 hectares.
The distribution of the sugarcane estate was the result of the July 5, 2011 decision of the Supreme Court in the case Hacienda Luisita Inc. versus Presidential Agrarian Reform Council, et al.
The high court had declared as valid PARC resolution 2005-32-01 issued on Dec. 22, 2005, revoking the stock distribution option plan of the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) for violation of several provisions of the stock distribution option agreement entered into between HLI and the farmers.
The option was adopted during the term of the late Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino. Under this arrangement, the farmers will receive shares of stock instead of physical land.
The Supreme Court ultimately resolved that the hacienda lands be placed under the compulsory coverage of the agrarian reform program.
There are reports, however, that many hacienda land reform beneficiaries who had earlier been awarded CLOAs have either leased, mortgaged or sold their lots despite a ban on the transfer and sale of these for 10 years. Those who did claimed they were not aware of the ban and that their decision to lease, mortgage or sell was dictated by emergency family needs.
DAR said that of the 6,212 land reform beneficiaries in 10 villages within Hacienda Luisita, at least 2,800 farm workers leased or mortgaged their lands, 600 sold their lots and 200 signed “joint venture agreements” with a second party.