No state of landlessness in PH - DAR

news national 1 pix 1 november 24 2018There is no landlessness in the Philippines. This was recently asserted by Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Luis Meinrado Pañgulayan in a congressional investigation by the Committee on Agrarian Reform.

“From where DAR (the Department of Agrarian Reform) stands there is no landlessness,” Pañgulayan said.

“From 1972 (and) 1988, when PD 27 and RA 6657 was passed (respectively), DAR has distributed a total of 4,761,831 hectares to 2.8 million agrarian reform beneficiaries. We have organized several cooperatives -- agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations; funded billions of pesos in cooperative projects from local sources and foreign-funded sources, improving the lives of farmers,” he added.

House Resolution 1130 directed the committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation “on the state of landlessness among Filipino farmers, perpetuation of former and present haciendas and the urgent necessity for land distribution.”

The resolution also enumerated haciendas and plantations “that need to be distributed to poor and landless Filipino farmers.” The hearing sought for the status of the distribution of these lands to serve as inputs to the committee’s plan to enhance the agrarian reform program.

According to the concerned DAR regional directors, most of the landholdings listed in the resolution were already covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Some of these lots have already been distributed, others have been classified as timberlands, while others are currently undergoing legal procedures due to resistance from landowners.

Following these responses, the committee requested the regional directors to prepare an official report and submit the same to the committee.

Jimmy Tadeo, an agrarian reform advocate, said the list of haciendas and plantations provided by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) are outdated. “The Committee must first review and validate the data provided by the KMP before putting them in the list,” Tadeo said.

Pañgulayan closed the inquiry on a positive note. “This meeting by the committee on agrarian reform, partylist representatives, and stakeholders shows that support from the government sector for our farmers is very strong. Even if we are disagreeing on a lot of things, it’s good to know that we are all doing this for the welfare of our farmers,” Pañgulayan said.

“The DAR remains to be of service to the farmers, sticking to its vision of building a nation where there is equitable land ownership and empowered agrarian reform beneficiaries who are effectively managing their economic and social development for a better quality of life,” he added.

House Resolution 1130 is authored by Partylist Representatives Ariel Casilao (Anak Pawis), Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna), Emmi De Jesus (Gabriela), Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers), Arlene Brosas Gabriela), France Castro (ACT Teachers), and Sarah Jane Elago (Kabataan).

Photo: Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Luis Meinrado Pañgulayan (extreme left) addressing the issues raised by the members of the House Committee on Agrarian Reform.

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