Agrarian office to distribute 60,253-hectare land-A A +A
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will distribute 60,253 hectares of land to farmer-beneficiaries in Eastern Visayas before the Comprehensive and Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) expires on June 30, 2014.
Alsmith Soria, regional public information officer, said this was according to their May 30, 2012 database.
“The [remaining 60,253] covers 12 percent of the supposed land for distribution,” he said.
Soria said that under Carp, each landowner is only allowed to own up to a maximum of five hectares and if it exceeds, it will be covered for distribution.
“When we talk of Carp, we are only referring to agricultural lands. Residential and commercial lands are not included,” Soria clarified.
He said tenants are given the most priority to be identified as the potential beneficiaries.
“If there are no tenants, the regular farm workers are the next priority. If there is none, seasonal farm-workers and if there is none again, farm workers from other land holdings… that will qualify,” he said.
Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive and Agrarian Reform Law (Carl) of 1998 was enacted by the 8th Congress of the Philippines and signed by former President Corazon Aquino on June 10, 1988.
It aims for a nation with equitable land ownership and empowered agrarian reform beneficiaries while, at least, improving social lives.
On August 7, 2009, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (Carper) or Republic Act 9700 was signed into law amending several provisions of Carl and extending the land distribution program of Carp by five years to expire on June 30, 2014.
In the span of 24 years since its implementation, a total of 428,925 hectares of government-acquired farmlands have been distributed to farmer-beneficiaries in Eastern Visayas.
“We, in DAR, are doing everything to implement the mandate of Carp and to meet the deadline on June 30, 2014,” Soria said.
Nestor Lebico, the secretary-general of Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma-Sinirangan Bisayas (Sagupa-SB) in an interview Tuesday, argued that DAR could not distribute (Carp lands fully) until 2014.
“My basis is on 2011, in the 10,000 hectares of (Carp) lands for distribution, they could not deliver it. When we asked the provincial head of DAR, he said, they don’t anymore have the budget (to be spent) for distribution,” he said.
“On 2011 alone, only about 10,000 hectares of land that (DAR) was supposed to distribute was not distributed. That is why in my view, (DAR) could hardly deliver,” Lebico added.
Lebico said that Sagupa-SB campaigns for the passage of House Bill 374 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Program Bill that, according to him, when approved will address the famers’ clamor for genuine land reform and the free distribution of land to farmer-beneficiaries.
“We call on [President Benigno Aquino] to implement true land reform and to trash Carper because it does not serve the farmers. (Instead) it only serves the land owners and foreign corporations,” Lebico said. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)