COUNCILOR Ian Caesar Acenas has blamed the Jesuit-run Xavier University for the failure of the government to give farmers some 300 hectares under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp).
The 300 hectares are part of 1,968.75-hectare government property that extends from Upper Tablon to Puerto. The property is presently being used by Ramcar as a ranch under the pasture lease agreement. Local officials said Ramcar’s lease agreement has already expired.
Acenas said the government could have long given the 300 hectares to the city’s farmers had it not been for Xavier’s opposition.
Of the 300 hectares, Xavier is reportedly claiming ownership of 109 hectares.
Acenas said Xavier even went to the extent of seeking a court order to stop the government from giving the land to impoverished farmers.
Acenas pointed to Xavier as the cause of the delay after Councilor Reynaldo Advincula raised a question on the status of 300-hectare agricultural land that was supposedly set aside from the 1,968.75-hectare government property.
Acenas said he could not understand why Xavier was forcing the issue when several decisions favored the farmers. He said even the environment department favored the farmers.
Meanwhile, Councilor Advincula accused Ramcar of ‘‘overstaying’’ in the property. He said Ramcar has applied for the renewal of its lease agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for another 25 years.
Advincula said he feared Ramcar might seek ownership of the land.
"Twenty-five years are enough, no need for an extension," Advincula said.
He called on Ramcar to yield to the city’s poor farmers.
City Environment and Natural Resources Officer (Cenro) Ronald Gadut said Ramcar’s lease agreement allowed it to have control over 1,968.75 hectares. Some 1,517.75 hectares of this property is located in Cagayan de Oro while the remaining 451 hectares are situated in neighboring Bukidnon.
"Ramcar did not violate any law," said Gadut.
Ramcar has been leasing the land since 1984.
But Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya said the Ramcar could be held liable for not giving the land up.
Nacaya said the city council might be forced to declare Ramcar’s owners persona non grata.
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