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DAR: Acquisition of lands continues

theGuardianBACOLOD City – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will continue the acquisition and distribution of lands in Negros Occidental as part of the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, said DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes.

De los Reyes, who was in Bacolod recently, said the DAR will finish its mandate to distribute landholdings covered by CARP to the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB).

The department has no deadline because the acquisition and distribution is Constitutional, as long as the landholdings are covered by Notice of Coverage (NOC), we will distribute it, despite the opposition from local officials in the province, he explained.

Aside from the landholdings issued with NOC, there are still 130,000 hectares of land up for distribution in the province. However, he did not name the owners of these vast estates.

“For landholdings which were subject to the NOC prior to June 30, 2013, we will continue with the acquisition. People have a mistaken notion that we cannot continue with the acquisition, but we can continue based on Section 10 of Republic Act 9700,” he explained.

He said the NOC Extension Bill pending in Congress will cover landholdings not issued with NOC.

When DAR started the CARP in 1992, it targeted to distribute nine million hectares of landholdings in the country. To date, the government is yet to distribute about 500,000 to 600,000 hectares of the total target, he said.

“We will continue what we have started and the government through its meager and limited budget has been trying to enhance the support services,” he said.

Though CARP is not a total success, de los Reyes said the living conditions of ARB now are better than before they were given their own lands.

He cited the success of block farming adapted by agrarian reform communities, which aims to enhance the competitiveness of sugar farmers amid the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement mandating the decrease in the tariff of imported sugar.

The block farming was developed by DAR, Department of Agriculture and Sugar Regulatory Administration to increase sugar production from 99 to 147 bags per hectare, he said.

Though some support services are still lacking, the government through DAR is working on it, he added.

Source: http://www.thedailyguardian.net/index.php/negros/51953-dar-acquisition-of-lands-continues

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