Press Release
November 27, 2008

DAR told to resolve case on Arroyo property in Negros

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today called on the Department of Agrarian Reform to now resolve, once for all, the issues pertaining to the coverage of a hacienda owned by the family of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Pimentel said the case should now be settled by the authorities in the face of the growing impatience among the farmers who are legitimately entitled to parcels of land in Hacienda Bacan in Isabela, Negros Occidental which the Arroyos, through their company, the Rivulet and Agro-Industrial Corporation, had offered to CARP through the "voluntary offer to sell" in 200l.

He warned that the continued government's footdragging in rendering a final decision on Hacienda Bacan may trigger a repetition of the recent incident at the Teves Hacienda in Negros Oriental when distraught agrarian reform beneficiaries forcibly entered and took possession of the property due to the government's indecision in resolving a similar land dispute.

"The case involving Hacienda Bacan should be resolved expeditiously and decisively by the authorities. Otherwise, I am afraid we will see tension building up and the situation getting out of hand, with farmers resorting to coercive or violent means to force the government to grant their demands," the minority leader said.

Pimentel issued the statement following the admission of the Land Bank of the Philippines that it has already completed the processing of the valuation of Hacienda Bacan. It informed the Senate committee on agrarian reform, chaired by Sen. Gregorio Honasan, last week that it is just waiting for DAR to issue the order of payment and deposit the amount of compensation to the owner of the property.

Land Bank officials reported that they have prepared the P42.3 million payment for the hacienda which consists of 98 hectares. They said they sent the request to DAR on June l8, 2008 to authorize the payment and this was confirmed by DAR officials.

Pimentel rebuked the DAR officials concerned for dilly-dallying on the final approval of payment for the property despite the fact that there is no more legal obstacles to it. He said the DAR should not worsen the situation by harassing and arresting those demonstrating for their rights in front of the DAR office.

He said Rivulet has tried to block the turnover of Hacienda Bacan to the rightful farmer-beneficiaries by making it appear that the company has a pending application with the DAR for conversion of the property into a commercial-industrial estate.

However, it was found out that there is no pending application for conversion of the classification of the hacienda and this was confirmed by Secretary Pangandaman himself.

News Latest News Feed