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Landlords’ compensation unrealistic, lawmaker says

[ manilastandardtoday.com ] May 28-29,2009

Negros Oriental Rep. Pryde Henry Teves has rejected the P25-billion compensation for landowners whose properties will be placed under the compulsory land acquisition and voluntary offer to sell scheme under the proposed agrarian law.

The proposed compensation for landowners is unrealistic, Teves said during an interpellation. “Some farms have already been developed and we should let the landowners recover at least a portion of their investments,”said Teves.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, principal author of the Carper bill, said there are 1.077 million hectares of private and public lands that remained to be distributed to farmer-beneficiaries. The government is giving “fair and just compensation” to the landowners, Lagman said.

Of the landholdings that can be farmed out, some 560,320 hectares have been identified under the compulsory land acquisition and voluntary offer to sell while some 517,218 hectares are covered under the voluntary land transfer scheme.

Citing records of the Department of Agrarian Reform, Lagman said banana plantation commands the highest cost at P742,630 per hectare, followed by mango plantation at P636,540 per ha. as against tobacco and abaca farms at P53,045 per ha.

“If you tell me sugarcane plantation is less than P200,000 per hectare, then forget it,” Teves said.

But sugarcane plantation is pegged at P318,270 per ha.; rice, vegetable, and rubber farms and pineapple plantation at P212,180 per ha; palm tree plantation at P127,308 per ha.; coconut plantation at P106,090 per ha; corn, coffee and cacao plantations at P84,872; and rootcrops at P63,654 .

Commercial tree farms are valued at P530,450 per ha.

Teves insisted that P25 billion is not enough and batted for bigger allocations for developed farms to ensure the landlords get just compensation. Christine F. Herrera

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