DAR bares landholdings acquired, set for distribution

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business mirrorA TOTAL of 3,635 landholdings has been covered under the land acquisition and distribution subcomponent of an amended land-reform law, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said.

Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao said the landholdings acquired during the first half of the year cover a total area of 61,884 hectares.

This is about only 7 percent of the remaining land acquisition and distribution (LAD) balance to be acquired by the DAR at 879,526 hectares as of January 1, 2013.

At this rate, only about 185,652 would be under LAD by June next year, the deadline set for the DAR subcomponent of the Land Tenure Improvement component under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer).

According to the DAR, LAD “involves the redistribution of government and private agricultural lands to landless farmers and farmworkers.”

Parungao, nonetheless, claims the first-half figures are the “highest in 12 years” for the DAR.

Of the total LAD balance at approximately 821,662 hectares as of end-June, about 694,181 hectares are to be distributed to qualified beneficiaries, while an estimated 175,000 hectares are retention areas.

A retention area is an estimated area that corresponds to the total of the areas to be retained by each land owner of the lands to be acquired and distributed by the government under the law.

Under Republic Act 9700, a landowner is allowed to retain a maximum of five hectares of land covered by CARPer. These landholdings covered under LAD are in various stages.

Once a land has been acquired by the government under CARPer, the DAR needs to identify qualified beneficiaries, validate the list of qualified beneficiaries, conduct land survey and land valuation, complete the claims folder, until actual certificate of land ownership award (CLOA), the proof of ownership of the land covered by the program, are awarded.

Parungao said that the DAR will continue to acquire and distribute lands beyond June 2014.

“It is incorrect to use June 2014 as deadline. Our position is that we can proceed with LAD even beyond the said date for lands where notice of coverage have already been served,” he said citing Section 30 of RA 9700.

“Our legal position has been sustained by the Department of Justice through its legal opinions No. 59, s 2011 and 60 s, 2011 issued early and mid July this year, respectively,” he added.

The DOJ opinions, he said, gives the DAR the “green light” to proceed with LAD and continue implementing the two other major programs under CARPer, namely Agrarian Justice Delivery and Program Beneficiaries Development (PBD)

According to Parungao, LAD targets for the next four years are 160,000 hectares for 2013, 240,000 has. for 2014, 180,000 has. for 2015, and 112,000 has. for 2016.

Parungao said that only 30 percent or 17,732 land holdings of the remaining 59,522 land holdings needs to be issued notice of coverage.

In terms of area, the 30 percent balance for NOCs is estimated at 153,132 hectares out of the 499,138 hectares.

“The total landholdings with notice of coverage are now 41,790 covering 346,006 hectares. This excludes those with notice of coverage but already accomplished,” he said.

SOURCE: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/regions/19177-dar-bares-landholdings-acquired-set-for-distribution