ORMOC CITY — Farmer Pablo Silva began his day last March 28 brimming with hope. He and his fellow agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) were about to harvest their first sugarcane as landowners since they were awarded their 35.56 hectare land 20 years ago under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
But at the end of the day, no harvest took place.
Their former landowners, the Potenciano and Aniceta Larrazabal Enterprise Corporation (PALEC), stopped the 23 farmer beneficiaries from harvesting sugarcane from their acquired land in Barangay Sumangga, Ormoc City yesterday.
PALEC Board member Geraldine Larrazabal arrived at the area minutes before the harvest for an on-the-spot dialogue with the officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to postpone the activity as per instruction of the corporation’s board of directors.
DAR and PNP officials speak with Timoteo Lagahit, group leader of the PALEC farmworkers who mobilized in the area on Tuesday morning.
PALEC was the previous owner of the CARP-covered land and the previous employer of the ARBs. The corporation planted the existing sugarcane one month before the formal installation of farmers last June 2016. They have been continuously using the land for large-scale sugarcane farming, even though the certificates of land ownership award (CLOA) over the area was distributed among the ARBs 20 years ago. (Read the full story of the installation here: http://bit.ly/2ocze8N)