Alejandro Otacan, the new Regional Director of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Western Visayas, vowed yesterday to fast-track the distribution of lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program before June 2016.
Otacan replaced Alexis Arsenal, who is set to retire.
Records from DAR Region 6 show that, in Negros Occidental, one of the provinces in the Philippines with the largest land area covered by CARP, there are about 26,100 hectares yet to be distributed to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries.
Of the 26,100 hectares, 14,600 are in northern Negros Occidental, while 11,500 hectares are in southern Negros Occidental.
“We need to work because we barely have time to distribute all the lands”, Otacan said.
Otacan appealed to the land owners in Negros Occidental to be cooperative instead of opposing the implementation of CARP as the program is aimed at poverty reduction.
Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Support Services Jerry Pacturan said last year during his visit to Negros Occidental that CARP will not actually end in June 2014, what will end is the funding for acquisition and distribution of the agricultural lands that will stop next year, and not the program itself, as stated in the law.
Under Republic Act 9700, whatever DAR started, especially in the coverage of the private agricultural lands before June 2014, will continue to be covered by the government until the acquisition and the distribution of lands is finished.
DAR is pushing the amendment of that particular provision of CARP, stating the end of the funding for the acquisition and distribution of agricultural lands is in June this year.*APN