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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

RCI denies plan to evict farmers from haciendas

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Roxas & Co. Inc. (RCI) on Monday expressed willingness to cooperate with the affected barangays on the planned development of the newly-acquired farmlands in Batangas province.

RCI said in a disclosure to the stock exchange while it was waiting for further instructions from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), it was also willing to cooperate with the affected barangays to minimize disruption within the areas for any planned development.

RCI issued the clarification after it was reported that some 1,000 residents of Batangas gathered at Makati’s Freedom Park to protest the plans of the company to evict some 50,000 individuals from Haciendas Palico, Banilad and Kaylaway covering up to 2,941 hectares in nine barangays.

The farmers were allegedly being evicted to make way for the RCI’s planned real estate development.

“To date, there are no actions planned on the properties and affected parties until our company receives further instructions from the Department of Agrarian Reform,” RCI said.

“The company is also studying and finalizing the highest and best use study and master plan for the estate; thus, any actions taken or to be taken, on or against the properties concerned are mere speculations at this point,” it said.

RCI said that apart from the duty to vacate peacefully the properties to be distributed to the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), it has no other financial obligations to the latter.

Farmers earlier called on banks not to grant financial support or any extension of loans to RCI until such time that that the firm settled its obligations with the affected ARBs.

RCI in February secured ownership rights over huge track of land in Batangas, ending a four-decade long land dispute with ARBs, after the DAR confirmed its ownership rights over the properties.

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