Two rival farmer groups ended their 16-year feud over the 46-hectare farm formerly owned by the Fran Farms Corporation in Barangay Matica-a, Ormoc City following the signing of the “compromise agreement,” recently.
OIC-Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Renato G. Badilla said the agreement between the two factions of farmer-beneficiaries, the Fran Farm Workers Association (FFWA) and the Bugho Farmers Association (BFA), finally put behind the conflict between them that was marked with lengthy legal litigation and bloodshed leading to a successful implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the area.
He said the FFWA and the BFA signed the compromise agreement after BFA leader Rosenda Apay willingly gave up the group’s stake over 21 hectares in favor of the FFWA which was accepted by its leader Benjie Malinao.
Badilla said the controversy started in 1999, when the rival groups questioned the identities and qualifications as CARP beneficiaries of members of each others’ groups.
In 2007, an FFWA farmer-leader was killed inside the premises of the DAR Ormoc City Office, creating deep hostility and distrust among the opposing groups.
Both groups claimed rights to the landholdings, where officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) tried to bring the two parties to a negotiating table.
Finally, the DAR Adjudication Board recently issued a decision, awarding the controversial landholdings in favor of the BFA.
But in a rare gesture of goodwill and sincerity, the BFA offered 21 hectares to the FFWA, stating that they would be contented with the remaining 25 hectares.
Badilla said that the DAR would conduct delineation and subdivision survey, and facilitate the compromise agreement with the court before issuing individual certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to the farmers. (JOHN COLASITO)