Hacienda Matias in San Francisco, Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon
The Commission on Human Rights hails the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for affirming coverage of 1,829 hectares of coconut land in Hacienda Matias, San Francisco, Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
CHR Chairman Loreta “Etta” Rosales, in a statement, said the Commission considered the DAR decision significant in this regard because Hacienda Matias was one of the biggest contiguous landholding currently being covered under CARPER. It is also located in a municipality considered to be among the poorest in the country, with the highest number of Conditional Cash Transfer beneficiaries in the province of Quezon. And it is in an insurgency area, where CARPER implementation is struggling against the resistance of an anti-CARP armed movement.
The long struggle by the farmers for recognition and installation as legitimate farmer-beneficiaries in the coconut plantation has been characterized by extrajudicial killings, physical or legal harassment and other forms of human rights violations committed by goons hired by the landlords, on the one hand, and communist insurgents, on the other.
In this regard. the Commission welcomes the instructions of the President to the police and the military to ensure “the peaceful and orderly installation of farmer-beneficiaries of all lands under the Program”, one of the commitments arising from the President’s meeting with the farmers.
Meanwhile, in the same statement, Rosales said the Commission strongly urged President Benigno S. Aquino III to continue with positive steps like this in CARP implementation in order to generate the momentum needed in the fulfillment of his policy pronouncement to complete implementation of the Program by 2014.
The statement also said that the DAR decision actually came on the same day that President Aquino made his pronouncement during his meeting in Malacañang on June 14, 2012 with representatives of the farmers belonging to Task Force Mapalad, and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. It gave spirit to the President’s pronouncement that the farmers will have their lands on or before 2014, and showed that this is the way to go in realizing that goal.