Congressmen urged to investigate cancellation of Cloas, CLTs, EPs

Agrarian-ReformA PARTY-LIST lawmaker on Monday asked the House Committee on Agrarian Reform to investigate the reports that landlords use the cancellation of certificates of land ownership awards (Cloas), certificates of land transfer (CLTs) and emancipation patents (EPs) as a legal tool to evade the agrarian-reform program.

House Resolution (HR) 914, filed by Party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis, seeks to measure the extent of cancellation of Cloas, CLTs and EPs, and, if warranted, stop all impending cancellation.

“Peasants are now protesting against the continuous cancellation of Cloas, CLTs and EPs, which resulted to their eviction and constant threat of displacement from the land they have long tilled,” the lawmaker said in HR 914, which is currently pending with the House Committee on Rules.

Citing a report by IBON Foundation, a nonstock, nonprofit organization, Hicap said that as of December 2006, 5,049 EPs and 103,092 Cloas, covering 204,579 hectares, have been canceled.

He claimed that Cloa and EP cancellation increased by 3,890 percent from 1995, while the area of land involved increased by 1,162 percent from 16,213 hectares.

Hicap said the Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agrayo (Sentra) Foundation Inc., an institution that provides free legal aid to farmers with agrarian cases, said there are almost 50,000 cases pending before the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) which involve exemption, conversion and cancellation of EPs and Cloas.

HR 914 also cited a Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) report that there were cancellation of Cloas, EPs and CLTs in the following areas:

Hacienda Looc, Nasugbo, Batangas. Cloas, EPs and CLTs were canceled when the DAR Adjudication Board (Darab) and the Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (Rarad) issued an exemption order in favor of a land developer.

Triboundary of Tacloban City, San Miguel and Alang-Alang in Leyte. Cloas were canceled when the DAR reclassified the land they till as timberland in 2004. The 429-hectare prime agricultural land is reportedly being claimed by Court ofAppeals Associate Justice Vicente Veloso.

Sitio Malapad, Sibul, San Miguel, and in barrios Durumugan and Kalawakan ng Bayan in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan. The 375 hectares of rich agricultural land were awarded to the farmers, but the DAR Region 3 office issued an exemption order oswing to the alleged failure of farmers to develop the awarded lands.

Aplaya Laiya in San Juan, Batangas. Cloas were issued to the farmers, but the Department of Tourism declared the place as tourism development area. After the Department of Justice Opinion 44 came out, the DAR exempted the land from Comprehensive Agrarian Reform coverage and cancelled the Cloas of the farmers.

Hacienda Morales, Barangay Guba, Cebu City. In 2007, at least 40 EPs were canceled.

Hacienda Sejismundo in Barangay Magdugo, Toledo City, Cebu. Twenty-six farmer-beneficiaries were made to sign documents cancelling their EPs by the DAR.

Hacienda Aleguijo, Toledo City, Cebu-EPs of farmers were canceled by the DAR.

Hacienda Libre in Cebu—CLTs were canceled by the DAR. Hacienda Libre covers 96 hectares of land in the towns of Ponod, Camugao, Lamac and Pinamungahan.

Hacienda Manggubat in Barangay Campusong, Borbon, Cebu-Cloas were canceled by the DAR.

Laguna. 200 Cloas were canceled, affecting 300 families. The petition for cancellation was due to the alleged exemption of the land from the coverage of RA 6657, as amended.

Capiz. Cloas and CLTs were canceled affecting 150 families.

Cancellations of CLOA, EPs and CLTs were also reported in the provinces of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.

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