NORTH COTABATO – Farmers were demanding the distribution of some 4,000 hectares of lands that was declared as a reservation area for the Mindanao Institute of Technology and University of Southern Mindanao.
The farm lands – 4,124 hectares of the 5,091 hectares - were declared a reservation area by then President Carlos Garcia on July 24, 1954 through Presidential Declaration Number 428. And on July 22, 1963, Republic Act 3801 allotted some 1,000 hectares for the Children’s Education Foundation Village where the College of Science and Technology now stands, and was awarded a land title despite the occupancy of farmers in the land.
Just last week, a huge group of farmers from 5 villages in Arakan town protested outside the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology in Doroluman village where some 500 students, employees and faculty members joined them in calling for the distribution of lands to the farmers who are mostly members of the Mailuminado Farmers' Association Incorporated.
“We are the rightful owner of this land. Our ancestors were already tilling this land before the government declared this as a land reservation,” said Cecilio Carmelo, MAFAI chairperson.
The students also demanded the resignation of Samson Molao, president of the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology, for various reasons. There was no immediate statement from Molao and the Department of Agrarian Reform on all the allegations raised by the protesters. (Mindanao Examiner)