The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) welcomed initial agreements to make free land distribution the “basic principle” of agrarian reform in the Philippines during the fourth round of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on April 6 in the Netherlands.
“Landlessness remains the main cause of farmers’ suffering and only pro-people policies on genuine agrarian reform would help us achieve national and agricultural industrialization,” Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano said in a statement issued on Saturday.
Mariano, a former chair of the leftist Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), also noted that landlessness was one of the roots of armed conflict in the countryside.
“Our continuing advocacy to push for the enactment of a genuine agrarian reform law would rectify the inherent flaws, loopholes and defects of previous agrarian reform programs that have exacerbated land monopoly by few landlord-oligarchs,” he said.
Security of land tenure is one of the priorities in the 10-point socioeconomic agenda of the Duterte administration.
The Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) Executive Committee, chaired by Mariano, has passed a resolution certifying as urgent House Bill 555, or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), during a PARC meeting last Feb. 28.
Under the proposal, agricultural lands will be distributed to qualified farmers for free to spur rural development and economic growth in the countryside./atm