AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano has set the stage for speedy land acquisition and distribution to potential farmer-beneficiaries and actual tillers of the land when he issued to all field implementers clear cut 10-point directives that primarily seek to fast track the acquisition and distribution of agricultural lands to landless farmers.
This is in line with the DAR’s strategic action to defend and assert the rights of farmers.
Foremost in his agenda, Mariano said is the immediate acquisition and distribution of big landholdings that have continuously evaded the program, which is now on its 29th year of implementation. The CARP was launched in June 1988.
To ensure that no landholding would be spared, Mariano directed all provincial agrarian reform program officers and regional directors to conduct inventories in their respective areas of responsibilities of landholdings that had been issued with notices of coverage.
He told them to cover those landholdings right away, including those that had been issued with “erroneous” notices, like typographic errors in the entries of information about the landowners’ identities, notices of coverage and locations and sizes of landholdings, among others.
The inventory, Mariano said, should extend to those landholdings that had already been distributed to the farmer-beneficiaries to determine if the same beneficiaries are still the ones in complete control and actual physical possession of farmlands that were awarded to them.
“Support services that had been provided to our farmer-beneficiaries should also be monitored to find out what other support services could be delivered and ensure that no duplication of project would be carried out.
The DAR chief ordered his field implementers to disseminate recently issued administrative orders that seek to “kill” previously issued policies that are inconsistent with and stand in the way for the speedy implementation of the existing agrarian reform program.
He also gave the go signal for the full implementation of his pet project – the Agrarian Reform Justice on Wheels (ARJOW) – in a bid to speed up the resolution of agrarian cases and attain zero-backlog during his administration.
Mariano also showed firm resolve against illegal and premature land conversion. He directed his field officials to issue cease and desist orders against violators and file charges against those who would willfully defy his order.
He stressed in his directive that all land conversion orders be declared null and void if no development activities had been undertaken after the five-year period, from the time the said orders were issued.
Moreover, Mariano cited the need for the immediate formation of task forces, especially those that look into the plight of farmer-beneficiaries, who remain uninstalled in the farmlands that had been awarded to them due to continued harassment and intimidation by the former landowners.
Knowing the limitations of the government’s land reform programs, Mariano rallied his field implementers to make a comprehensive action plan in their respective areas in preparation for the all-out campaign for the enactment of the proposed House Bill No. 555, or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or the “Free Land Distribution Bill (FLDB).”
Mariano also gave a standing order to all concerned DAR central and field officials to complete the regular processing for the promotion of deserving DAR employees and the hiring of DAR employees, who were left out in the previous implementation of the rationalization plan, and of new staffs.
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