“Gibinu-angan lang mi sa gobyerno, wala man diay para sa amoa (The government is not taking us seriously, nothing has been intended for us all along)” — Lilia Gicana, 54, CARP beneficiary
By DANILDA L. FUSILERO
MAKILALA, Cotabato, Philippines — Farmers holding a Certificate of Land Ownership Award are dismayed to learn that they were excluded from a list of beneficiaries allowed to occupy a relocation area as part of a settlement over a decades-long land conflict.
“Gibinu-angan lang mi sa gobyerno, wala man diay para sa amoa (The government is not taking us seriously, nothing has been intended for us all along),” Lilia Gicana, 54, said.
Gicana belong to the Federation of Free Tappers who, as Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) beneficiaries, claimed ownership over a 178-hectare lot in Sitio Lacobe, Malabuan village.
Their group is in conflict with the Baclids, a Moro clan, who originally owned the land but was forced to vacate it at the height of the Martial Law relic, Ilaga-Blackshirts conflict that pitted Christians and Muslims. Since the 1970s, non-Moro farmers like Gicana’s family have tilled the lands. Through the years, the Baclids asserted their ancestral rights and declared a “rido” (clan war) against the farmers.
Early this year, the farmers accepted a government proposal to relocate to a nearby area. Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza reported during her State of the Province Address that the land dispute was finally resolved through the signing of covenant between the agrarian beneficiaries and the Baclids.
The farmers, however, later learned their names were not included in the final list of residents to be relocated to new homes and farms.
Gicana expressed doubt over the proposal to relocate them, saying that aside from erroneous list of beneficiaries, the 800-hectare expanded area to be surveyed and delineated includes titled lands and areas outside the village.
In an interview with davaotoday.com, KMP-North Cotabato Chairperson Noli Lapaz urged the local government and agrarian officials to act on the conflict with impartiality.
“The agencies mediating the conflict should have thoroughly validated the claims of both parties and laws supporting such claims or rights,” Lapaz said.
“Sa dagan sa panghitabo, murag ang mediation dugang na hinoong nagpasabong sa mga tawo (In the process, the mediation seemed to have heightened the conflict),” he added.
The KMP also scored the Department of Land Reform for bragging that Carp was the government’s focal program on social justice.
Back in February, Taliño-Mendoza said the province is “bombarded with problems on clan wars because of land disputes” adding that responsible agencies should help in the smooth implementation of government land reform. (Danilda L. Fusilero/davaotoday.com)World