The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will distribute 694,181 hectares of land to 408,342 farmer-beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) by 2016.
The government assures that all lands under the CARPER law will be covered by June 30, 2014, the last day of the law’s effectivity. DAR is issuing Notices of Coverage (NOCs) for agricultural lands to be distributed even after the law’s expiration. The CARPER law provides that once an NOC is issued, it will still be processed even beyond the June, 2014 landline.
Republic Act (RA) 9700, the CARPER Law, signed on August 7, 2009, amended several provisions of RA 6657, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988. CARPER extended the land distribution program of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by five years. It did away with the provision for voluntary land transfer, which was used for stock distribution option.
For untitled privately claimed agricultural lands (UPALs) nationwide under the CARP, the DAR and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) jointly issued new guidelines under Administrative Order No. 3 to facilitate orderly land distribution. DAR distributes private agricultural lands and government-owned lands in proclaimed settlements while DENR distributes alienable and disposable public lands suitable for agriculture.
Under the new rules, the maximum titling limit of 12 hectares mandated under the 1987 Constitution is observed in the acquisition and distribution of identified UPALs that are covered by Operation Land Transfer and the CARP. The applicable title limit of 24 hectares as prescribed under the 1935 and 1973 Constitution is also respected.
An individual is considered to have acquired a private right over an untitled landholding if he has continuously occupied and cultivated the land for 30 years. Areas in excess of applicable titling limit will be retained under DENR and surveyed as one lot to be designated as public land. The guidelines, according to DAR, do not apply to UPALs that were issued with certificates of deposit.
The government has stepped up the issuance of NOCs for landholdings to be acquired through compulsory acquisition. An NOC initiates the compulsory acquisition and distribution of private agricultural lands and is considered by DAR as a proceeding under CARPER. Meanwhile, farmer-beneficiaries and their families are assisted through livelihood opportunities and inputs to productivity such as irrigation, credit and market facilities, modern tools, education and training.