With the Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) program under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) due to lapse on June 30, President Aquino has certified as urgent a measure seeking to ensure “fair and equitable” distribution of land among the tenant farmers until 2016.
In a letter to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the Chief Executive asked the House of Representatives to prioritize the passage of House Bill 4296, citing the need to immediately extend the operation of the LAD program for the benefit of small farmers and farm workers.
“As a constitutionally mandated undertaking, it is imperative that the Senate ensure the completion of an agrarian reform program dedicated to the ideal of a just and equitable distribution of land among tenant farmers. Despite the CARP’s initial success in implementing agrarian reform, a substantial portion of the country’s agricultural lands remains beyond the program’s coverage and will continue to be unless the program’s efficacy is extended,” the President said in his letter to Belmonte.
The measure was approved in the committee level in both chambers of Congress.
House Bill 4296 extends the LAD program until 2016 which in effect would give time for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to issue notices of coverage (NOC) to more than 600,000 hectares of land starting 2014.
The measure does not only extend NOC issuances up to June 30, 2015, but also adds R150 billion to the Agrarian Reform Fund for the LAD completion.
“The certification of the House Bill No. 4296 provides for the seamless implementation of the LAD and reaffirms this government’s dedication to implementing genuine land reform,” Aquino said.