TAGUM CITY, Philippines – No less than the Agrarian Reform Secretary, Rafael Mariano will attend the symbolic reinstallation of farmers in the contested San Isidro area inside the Hijo Plantation in Barangay Madaum here Tuesday morning.
Tommy Bernaldes, Department of Agrarian Reform Quick Response Officer told Davao Today in an interview that Mariano is set to arrive tomorrow in Davao City around 8 am.
On April 11, Mariano issued the Writ of Installation to “install the farmer beneficiaries/member of MARBAI in the San Isidro farm area known as Sanid employing reasonable force and means as may be neccessary to effectively perform such installation.”
Bernaldes said the installation will be attended by representatives of the regional and provincial DAR, a representative of the city government, and two representatives from the Commission on Human Rights.
He added that the Davao del Norte Provincial Police Office was deputized to oversee the orderly installation.
A copy of the Writ was also provided to the Lapanday Foods Corporation.
“That’s part of the procedure,” Bernaldes said adding that all parties were notified of the scheduled proceedings.
However, Bernaldes admitted that the land dispute among the farmer members of Marbai and Lapanday is a complicated issue.
“It’s very complicated. Marbai entered into a compromised agreement with Hearbco-1 in the Sanid area, but the Hearbco-1 entered also in a compromised agreement with Lapanday,” he said.
The agreement between Marbai and Hearbco-1 was approved by the DAR Adjudication Boart, DAR’s agrarian court, while the compromised agreement between Hearbco-1 and Lapanday was approved by the Regional Trial Court Branch 14.
“There are actually two compromise agreements approved by different courts,” Bernaldes said.
Asked which court has the overall jurisdiction to rule the case, Bernaldes said “it’s up to the higher court to decide.”
But Bernaldes stressed that once a Certificate of Land Ownership is awarded to a farmer-beneficiary “it should carry with it the possession of the land holding.”
“That is every farmer beneficiary’s right to be installed,” he said.
On December 14, last year, DAR issued a cease and desist order prohibiting Lapanday “and all its officers, employees, and persons acting for and in its behalf,” from forcibly evicting Marbai members who were then occupying the area.
But the farmers were forcibly evicted by alleged security guards of Lapanday on December 31.
Mariano said instead of filing a comment on the CDO, Lapanday filed a Petition for Certiorari with Application for a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction “seeking to restrain and nullify the CDO on the ground of grave abuse of discretion and lack of jurisdiction.”
However, the CA denied Lapanday’s petition on January 6, 2017. (davaotoday.com)