Bukidnon farmers clad in cow heads held a picket-rally to condemn the illegal occupation and use by RAMCAR of 983 hectares of land already covered by the agrarian reform program depriving 550 farming families of justice.
A Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) covering 983 hectares of the 1,365-hectare RAMCAR Ranch in Sumilao, Bukidnon was already issued in 1998 to farmer-beneficiaries. RAMCAR is represented by Jose Manuel Agustines.
Xavier Farms Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (XAFARBA) President Eduardo Daigon said “this picket is to urge RAMCAR to vacate the land and for Mr. Agustines not to turn a blind eye on our right over the land. We demand installation in our own land. We demand justice.”
“The farmer-beneficiaries have been robbed of about P600 million worth of income opportunities for the last 14 years that they were deprived of from using their lands”, Daigon emphasized.
Apart from owning few of the country’s big fast food chains, RAMCAR also domesticates cattle to produce “wagyu beef” with the ranch as the grazing land.
“It is very disheartening and degrading to live everyday knowing that our dignity as farmers and as human beings is being set aside in favor of cattle,” Daigon lamented.
“We believe that Mr. Agustines know the mandates of the agrarian reform law. How come that RAMCAR continues to inflict injustice by depriving us to make the land productive for our own families?” asked Daigon.
In 2008, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) officials planned to install the CLOA holders.
But RAMCAR used a land tenure permit issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for a different piece of land located in a different town to lay claim to the CARP covered land. And DAR surprisingly recognized the said permit.
“The ‘permit’ was used by RAMCAR to stop the installation of CLOA holders and so we had to wait for almost a year until 2009 when DENR issued a letter proving that the RAMCAR tenure does not cover the 1,365-hectare ranch,” argued Daigon.
“They have used fake permits and they also used force to drive us away from our land,” said Daigon.
Daigon also revealed that RAMCAR has put-up legal impediments to the installation of farmer-beneficiaries such as the filing of erroneous CARP exemption appeals and used harassment strategies such as the deployment of goons (hired gunmen) and farmers were fired upon in a reported incident in December 2009. /30