MANILA: A senior official on Thursday announced the government started distributing land to more than 6,000 farmer-beneficiaries from the vast sugar estate owned by the clan of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino in Tarlac province in Central Luzon.
Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said each of the beneficiaries is to receive a total of 6,600 square metres of land from the Hacienda Luisita estate owned by the Cojuangco clan to which Aquino’s mother, the late global democracy icon president Corazon Aquino, belonged.
Delos Reyes said the distribution was in line with the Supreme Court decision in November 2011, which declared 4,335 hectares of the estate as part of the government’s agrarian reform programme to help improve the lives of the farmers tilling the land.
DAR officials started distributing the land at 9am on Thursday in a “barangay” (village) in Tarlac City through a raffle, which they described as the “most transparent and fair method.”
In attendance were Delos Reyes and other senior DAR officials as well as representatives from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines which earlier urged Aquino to help hasten the implementation of the government’s land reform programme.
But the DAR pointed out that in the allocation, it made sure it assigned adjoining lots to farmer-beneficiaries who are related.