Q and A on CARP

1. What is CARP? What is CARPER?

CARP stands for theComprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, a government initiative that aims to grant landless farmers and farmworkers ownership of agricultural lands. It was signed into lawby President Corazon C. Aquino on June 10, 1988, and was scheduled to have been completed in 1998. On the year of its deadline, Congress enacted a law (Republic Act No. 8532) appropriating additional funds for the program and extending the automatic appropriation of  ill-gotten wealth recovered by the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) for CARP until 2008.

CARPER, or theComprehensive Agrarian Reform ProgramExtension with Reforms, is the amendatory law that extends yet again the deadline of distributing agricultural lands to farmers for five years. It also amends other provisions stated in CARP. CARPER was signed into lawon August 7, 2009.

2. Who are the beneficiaries of CARP?

Landless farmers, including agricultural lessees, tenants, as well as regular, seasonal and other farmworkers. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) identifies and screens potential beneficiaries and validates their qualifications. For example, to qualify, you must be at least 15 years old, be a resident of the barangay where the land holding is located, and own no more than 3 hectares of agricultural land.

3. What are the government offices involved in the program?

Many agencies are involved in the implementation of CARP. The lead agencies are the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). They are in charge of the identification and distribution of covered land, and is commonly refererred to as CARPable land.

4. How much land is subject to land reform?

An estimated 7.8 million hectares of land is covered by CARP.

5. How much land has been acquired and distributed so far?

As of December 31, 2013, the government has acquired and distributed 6.9 million hectares of land, equivalent to 88% of the total land subject to CARP.

6. How much land was distributed to beneficiaries under this administration?

From July 2010 to December 2013, the administration has distributed a total of 751,514 hectares, or 45% of the total landholdings to be distributed to the farmer beneficiaries left under this administration.

From this, DAR has distributed 412,782 hectares and DENR has already distributed 338,732 hectares.

7. How much land does the government still need to acquire for distribution from 2014 to 2016?

DAR still needs to acquire 771,795 hectares, while the DENR still needs to acquire 134,857 hectares—a total of 906,652 hectares.

8. How will the government acquire the landholdings?

There are different modes of acquiring and distributing public and private agricultural lands. For private lands under compulsory acquisition, the DAR will issue Notices of Coverage to the original owners of the landholdings. Notices of Coverage will be issued to most of the landholdings by June 30, 2014.

9. What is a notice of coverage?

A Notice of Coverage (NOC) is a letter informing a landowner that his/her land is covered by CARP, and is subject to acquisition and distribution to beneficiaries. It likewise informs the landowner of his/her rights under the law, including the right to retain 5 hectares.

10. After the period of time allotted for CARPER by law is passed (August 7, 2009 to June 30, 2014), how will the remaining landholdings, which are subject to compulsory acquisition, be distributed to the beneficiaries?

As long as Notices of Coverage are issued on or before June 30, 2014, land distribution to beneficiaries shall continue until completion, according to Section 30 of CARPER (R.A. No. 9700). Meaning, even after CARPER’s deadline, the law itself mandates the concerned agencies to finish distributing lands to the beneficiaries up to the very last hectare. This assures to the farmers that the process for receiving their land will continue (e.g., beneficiary identification, survey, generation, and registration of land titles to beneficiaries).

11. How does DAR intend to deal with the remaining landholdings (771,795 hectares) to be distributed?

DAR projects that it will be distributing 187,686 hectares in 2014; 198,631 hectares in 2015; and 385,478 hectares in 2016.

Of the remaining CARPable landholdings to be distributed, 551,275 hectares are considered workable, while 220,520 hectares are tagged as problematic. Solutions for problematic landholdings will be worked out.

12. What were the challenges encountered in the course of acquiring and distributing private lands?

There were numerous problems in implementing the land reform program:

In some cases, technical descriptions in the land titles (which determine the boundaries of the land) were found to be erroneous and had to be corrected. Some titles were destroyed, and therefore, had to be reissued by undergoing a court process, similar to filing a case. Potential beneficiaries argued among themselves on who should or should not be qualified as beneficiaries; these disputes had to be mediated or resolved by the government. In other cases, landowners may petition that their lands be exempted or excluded from CARP coverage, and some of these petitions have gone up to the Supreme Court.

Smaller parcels of land (5 hectares to 10 hectares) were only processed in the last year of implementation of CARPER (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014). Past efforts focused on bigger parcels of land, which involved more paperwork to process. Now that efforts are focused on smaller but more numerous cuts of land, there are more claim folders to process and distribute.

From the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office and the Department of Agrarian Reform