Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II, Lucrecia Taberna, is reminding barangay captains to uphold the law and avoid signing “prenda-arendo” contracts involving awarded lots under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
“We should uphold the law, we should not tolerate illegal acts involving awarded lots under CARP,” Taberna said during the Department of Agrarian Reform project turnover in San Enrique town Wednesday.
She said signing pawn contracts to approve a deal between an Agrarian Reform Beneficiary and a buyer by barangay officials is ground for administrative liability since these are illegal contracts.
Such contracts may even be used as evidence; all they have to do is submit the contract to DAR for processing. It is very clearly stated in the Agrarian Law that after June 15, 1988, there must be no leases in agricultural land holdings, especially those covered under CARP, Taberna said.
DAR Negros Occidental has only received speculations and verbal complaints, but no formal reports have been filed, she said.
The legal aspect of DAR needs substantial evidence for “prenda-arendo cases.” She added that DAR conducts assemblies, giving emphasis on illegal acts under RA 6657 or CARP, as amended, in the preliminary stages of land acquisition and distribution.
“Once we receive we prove a complaint with substantial evidence, we will recommend disqualification of the ARBs,” she said.
Taberna added that the buyer has no legal right to the lot sold. DAR will then re-identify ARBs after the disqualification and it is possible that they will increase in terms of the land to be awarded.
Meanwhile DAR is still waiting for the approval of Congress to grant their office authority to issue notices of coverage and accept voluntary offer to sell, she said.
Taberna said that according to the DAR Neg. Occ. database, the province is first in land acquisition and distribution scope even beyond 2016. Southern Neg. Occ. has a total balance of more or less 57,000 hectares, she said.
She also said that support services for the province are in the pipeline, and include seven trucks ready for release.
DAR targets to distribute a bundle of support services, involving 43 ARBOs who complied with the criteria and met the qualifications.
DAR, together with the Department of Agriculture and the Land Bank of the Philippines, is aiming to increase the Agrarian Production Credit Program allocation higher than the P163 million released last year.
“We are trying to increase that figure, and continue capacitating the ARBOs,” she said.*KBC