DAR Names 6,212 Farmer Beneficiaries

A total of 6,212 farm workers have been listed as official beneficiaries of the 4,915-hectare Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) disclosed Wednesday.

The final masterlist was posted in Hacienda Luisita Wednesday led by DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes.

Based on the Supreme Court (SC) decision, the Hacienda Luisita should be distributed to those farm workers of Hacienda Luisita who are qualified to be beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in 1989 - the time of the approval of the Stock Distribution Plan (SDP), which the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) eventually revoked.

To comply with the SC ruling, the DAR conducted two rounds of interviews to 8,641 applicants done simultaneously in each barangay (village) covering Hacienda Luisita.

About 120 DAR field personnel from Tarlac, DAR-Central Luzon, and DAR-Central Office had been mobilized for the interviews. Last November, the DAR released the preliminary list of possible beneficiaries, which listed 5,365 farm workers.

Delos Reyes said the DAR is optimistic that it will be able to meet its self-imposed target to distribute the 4,915-hectare sugar farm to qualified beneficiaries in May or June this year.

The DAR with the Department of Agriculture's Sugar Regulatory Administration (DA-SRA) is already crafting plans for support services programs that will be provided to the beneficiaries.

In a related development, the DAR has described as "baseless" and "unfounded" allegations that it is railroading the processes related to the High Court's decision on the Hacienda Luisita case.

In reaction to a statement issued by the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the DAR said that they have been transparent in all aspects, even conducting consultations with all parties involved in the Hacienda Luisita case, including the process of selecting the accounting firm to conduct the special purpose audit on the Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) and Centenary Holdings, Inc.