FARMERS SCORE BIG IN THE NEW DAR ORDER, Mariano signs new implementing guidelines covering all agricultural lands with pending cases

news national 1 pix 1 aug 25 2017In his boldest move yet, Agrarian Reform chief Rafael Mariano signs Administrative Order No. 05, series 2017 which gives way to the Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) process and farmer installation despite applications for conversion involving agricultural lands or pending acquisition proceedings. 

Following big agrarian reform cases such as those of the Hacienda Luisita and Lapanday Foods Inc., Mariano said that one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the agrarian law implementation is the installation of farmers on lands where there are pending cases of conversion and protest on coverage.

Mariano said that there must be “actual physical possession and full control of land by the farmer” before any application for conversion and protest of coverage shall be decided upon by DAR. 

He further explained that DAR shall immediately proceed with the LAD process up to the installation notwithstanding the pendency of an appeal with the Office of the President, or court unless suspended otherwise by the Secretary, OP or the Supreme Court.

Data from DAR show that the agency had to address a total of 58,220 agrarian law implementation cases from July 2016 to June 2017.

Of these, 27,981 agrarian law implementation cases were resolved and covered, including 209 dialogues involving 12,292 farmers within the same period. This is more than double the 97 consultation-dialogues held and 12 times the number of farmers accommodated from July 2015 to June 2016.

He said with this data alone, it revealed the “farmers are still wallowing in poverty and landlessness. Landlords are using the courts to thwart the distribution of lands to agrarian reform beneficiaries.”

As reported by previous administrations, a total of 4.8 million hectares of land were distributed to about 2.8 million farmer beneficiaries from 1972 to June 2016.

“We ask ourselves how many of the farmers who were awarded with their respective CLOAs (Certificate of Land Ownership Award) from decades ago are still in actual possession and full control of their lands today. Why are farmers still clamoring for lands?” Mariano said.

He announced that the Administrative Order is retroactive and shall cover all pending agrarian law implementation cases filed before DAR.

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