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Farmers seek distribution of Fort Magsaysay land

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farmers-seekSOME 100 farmers from Dingalan, Aurora, on Thursday trooped to Malacañang to ask for the distribution of a portion of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) to landless farmers through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer).

They appealed to President Aquino to amend Presidential Proclamation (PP) 237 signed by President Ramon Magsaysay on December 18, 1955, which created and transferred ownership of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation to the Army.


Eduardo Mora, president of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (PKMP), said the military reservation, once fully utilized, would help boost farmers’ income and promote agricultural productivity.

During their rally, the protesters were met by Ana de la Vega, a lawyer from the office of Presidential Political Adviser Ronald Llamas, who promised to facilitate a dialogue between them and Mr. Aquino.

Mora said they will ask Mr. Aquino to amend PP 237 so that the Fort Magsaysay land can be distributed to landless farmers through the agrarian-reform program.

The military reservation spans the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora.

Fort Magsaysay is the home of the Army’s 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division, the Armed Forces Special Operations Command (Socom) made up of the Light Reaction Battalion, the Special Forces Regiment, the Scout Ranger Regiment and the Psychological Warfare Group as well as the Army Aviation Battalion that is attached to the Light Armored Division.

The farmers from the four barangays of Matawe, Ibona, Cargsacan and Butas na Bato have been cultivating land inside the military reservation for more than four decades.

They first won a battle for the right to cultivate within the military reservation after 4,752 hectares of land were awarded to 805 farmer-beneficiaries in 1993.

Today, however, they fear that the Armed Forces will eventually eject them out of the military reservation.

The farmers are members of the Task Force Military Reservation, an alliance of six farmers’ organizations, namely, Agusis Upland Farmers’ Association, Matawe Upland Farmers’ Association, Small Coconut Farmers’ Association, Sitio Tapao Upland Farmers’ Association, Abongan, Camiling, Cailugan Ibona Upland Farmers’ Association, and Lingap Bundok sa Barangay Caragsacan.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, told the BusinessMirror that military reservations are not covered by CARP.

He said that to be covered by CARP, land ownership must be transferred to the DAR for distribution.


Published by: Busines Mirror
Published on Thursday, 18 October 2012 19:57



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