As a timely response, the Department of Agrarian Reform issued Administrative Order No.2 series of 2014, entitled, “Rules and Regulations on Leasehold Operations in Tenanted Coconut Lands Affected by Fortuitous Events, Natural Disasters or Calamities”. This AO was intended to protect the farmers in tenanted coconut lands that have been hit by calamities (such as Typhoon Yolanda).
From March 10-15, 2014, a cascading activity of Administrative Order No. 2 Series of 2014 was conducted in Ormoc City for DAR VIII’s regional, provincial and municipal staff who will in turn act as subject matter experts (SMEs) and conduct simultaneous “pulung-pulong” at the barangay level to be able to reach out to affected farmers and landowners within this month.
The said orientation was basically about the new set of rules and regulations on leasehold operations in tenanted coconut lands that are applicable to all concerned, with or without a leasehold agreement. It also covers guidelines concerning the review and adjustment of lease rentals in tenanted coconut lands. Information, education, and communication (IEC) materials to popularize the AO to coconut farmers, landowners, and other stakeholders in region VIII will also be made. Given the unfortunate events brought about by Typhoon Yolanda last year, the project will also focus on improving the economic conditions of the coconut leaseholders through support services the Department can offer.
The project initially focused on Region VIII so the Department can immediately respond to stakeholders in the region which also holds the reputation of being the second highest coconut producer in the country and has a leasehold operations that covers a total of 1,626 hectares, of which, 30% are planted with coconuts as of December 2013 according to the DAR Field Operations Office.