GETTING the land — not landing in jail — was the hope Alexander Celis nurtured when he and other Negros farmers trekked recently to the Land Registration Authority (LRA) office in Quezon City. The main reason for their trip was merely to convince President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to speed up agrarian reform in a Negros sugar plantation being linked to her husband, First Gentleman Jose Miguel ‘Mike’ Arroyo.
The 35-year-old Celis says the 157-hectare Hacienda Bacan in Negros Occidental’s Guintubhan village in Isabela town was among the pieces of agricultural land owned by the Arroyo family. In 2001, the President promised to distribute this and other Arroyo landholdings to farmers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
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