CLOA holders give lands to Sumilao farmers to avert conflict

SUMILAO, Bukidnon (MindaNews/28 July)– The four Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) holders have agreed to share their lands to at least a dozen farmers actually occupying the area for two decades already.

TALKING POINTS. Engr. Julio Celestiano Jr., Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer II of the Department of Agrarian Reform (leftmost), talks to the farmers during a dialogue in barangay Lupiagan, Sumilao town in Bukidnont Thursday, July 26, 2012. MindaNews photo by Erwin MascarinasThe four CLOA holders—Antero Aguhob, Alfredo Asilan, Nicarpio Tamong and Lunie Payuhan—agreed to have six hectares (1.5 hectares each) for themselves and 15 hectares to the 13 farmers (1.2 hectares each).

The 13 farmers have been occupying the 21 hectares in Barangay Lupiagan here for so long a time.

The CLOA holders and the actual occupants resolved the issue after a half-day dialogue last Thursday in the presence of representatives from the Department of Agrarian Reform, Sumilao police and the Task Force Mapalad.

Earlier in the day, the CLOA holders, DAR, police and the TF Mapalad representatives were stopped at a Civilian Volunteer Organization outpost in the village.

Mamerto Pepay, Barangay Lupiagan chairperson, and Chrisenio Igcalinos, who represented the actual occupants, said they set up the checkpoint to avert violence between the supporters of the CLOA holders and the actual occupants.

A sign at the checkpoint reads, “Stop, we want a dialogue, for peace.”

The local police asked those manning the checkpoint to let the team proceed after they have signed the logbook.

Engr. Julio Celestiano, Jr., Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer II, reminded them that the dialogue between the CLOA holders and the actual occupants has been scheduled even before.

Celestiano said that DAR Undersecretary Narcisso Benito, in a letter dated July 4, 2012, has ordered the installation of the CLOA holders in the village.

The CLOA holders and TF Mapalad have earlier allowed the actual occupants to harvest their standing crops before they yield the area, he said.

But after three hours of dialogue, the actual occupants stressed that it is unfair for them to just hand over the land since they have spent efforts and money to develop it into an agricultural area.

Igcalinos, who represents the actual occupants, claimed that the area has been awarded to the CLOA holders since 1991.

But it was the actual occupants who toiled the land until this time, he added, assailing the CLOA holders.

An agreement was later reached to just share the land with each other.

The CLOA holders said the agreement was beneficial to both parties to preserve the peace in the community. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)