DAR exec says no DAP cash released for landowners

on . Posted in DAR In The News
business mirrorAGRARIAN Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes on Monday reiterated that no funds outside of what was appropriated by Congress were added to the landowners’ compensation under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) chief issued the statement to belie allegations that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was used to pay for the Hacienda Luisita, the vast sugar estate formerly owned by the family of President Aquino in Tarlac.

The Hacienda Luisita was eventually distributed to 6,212 beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program–Extension with Reform as ordered by the Supreme Court in April 2012. De los Reyes said that Congress appropriated a total of P7.932 billion for landowners’ compensation for the years 2010 and 2011, under the 2010 and 2011 General Appropriations Acts (GAAs), respectively. Subsequently, a Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) for the said amount was released to the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) on October 4, 2011.

Of the total amount, the release of P5.4 billion was facilitated through DAP and correspondingly released to the LandBank as part of the government’s disbursement strategy, he said.

According to de los Reyes, paying the landowners for lands acquired for distribution, in this case out of the P7.932 billion, was mandated not only by law, such as Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform law, but also by the Constitution.

“Some groups are trying to make it appear that this is the first time that the government is paying landowners. It is not. The DAR has been paying landowners for lands it acquired for distribution under its agrarian-reform program for more than [30] years,” de los Reyes said.

He added that although an amount was indicated for landowners’ compensation in the list of DAP-identified projects, this item was included in the list only because it was part of the government’s disbursement strategy.

However, he pointed out that there was no augmentation of the funds facilitated through the DAP for the said purpose. He further clarified that the entire amount released through the NCA (cash)—a part of which was released through the DAP strategy—were appropriated by the Congress under the 2010 and 2011 GAAs. De los Reyes emphasized that the funds for landowners compensation was validly appropriated and allotted under the 2010 and 2011 GAAs with the actual cash release of a portion of the amount was merely facilitated through the DAP.

The DAR chief reiterated that it was the Supreme Court decision on the case of Apo Fruits Corp. and Hijo Plantation Inc. vs. Land Bank in April 2011 prompting the latter to request for the immediate release of the cash appropriated for landowners’ compensation.

Source: http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/agri-commodities/35806-dar-exec-says-no-dap-cash-released-for-landowners