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Maximum term for contracts eyed by ARBs engaged in AVAs

news reg 2 pix 1 feb. 3 2017DAVAO CITY, Feb. 3 – Agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) engaged in Agribusiness Venture Agreements (AVA) have recommended the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to consider a maximum term for all contracts during a forum on the implementation of AVAs.

This is one of the five-point policy recommendations and inputs identified by workshop groups classified into crop yields during the forum.

The policy recommendations of participants for the PARC and the DAR are the following:

1. For the DAR to consider the following provisions in the ongoing revision or enhancement of Administrative Order No. 09, Series of 2006:

-       set a maximum term of period for the AVA contracts, i.e., at 10 years for lease or JVA agreements for both parties to be able to renegotiate their terms and conditions, or based on the crop cycle for other AVA schemes; with specific provision for economic review including provision on automatic price adjustments

-       include a provision on the sanctions pertaining to:

o   Violations of AVA guidelines to give options to the ARBs other than revocation;

§  Non-observance of timeline in rendering decisions by approving authorities on AVA applications

-       include a provision of setting up of a grievance mechanism or committee within the ARB cooperatives or associations engaged in AVA;

-       on Joint Venture Agreements, representation must be fixed at 60-40 percent in the Board of Directors (BOD) in favor of the ARBs considering that ARBs provide the most valuable investment which is the land

-       make it mandatory for the AVA contracts to be translated into local dialect for better understanding of the ARBs

-       Include a provision that will require investors to provide soil rehabilitation fund or implement a soil rehabilitation program

-       Stipulate in the contract the establishment of a review mechanism which will involve an outside expert (acceptable to both parties) for the periodic review of the economic assumptions, physical attributes of the lands and critical terms mentioned under Section 4.14 of AO 9, Series of 2006

-       Prescribe a more reasonable bases for computing lease rentals as the current formula provided in AO No. 02, Series of 2008 is still not acceptable to the ARBs

-       Include a directive to the investors to make farming methods and other farm inputs generally safe for the environment, i.e., ecologically sound

2. For the DAR to provide well-defined guidelines on the roles and interventions of CDA roles and interventions for internal and intra-ARB cooperative conflicts on agrarian-related issues by forging a MOA with CDA on the matter

3. For the PARC to study the possible creation of the Philippine Palm Oil Board and the participation or involvement of other line agencies such as DTI, NEDA in the stabilization of the market price of palm oil to avoid price manipulation

4. For the PARC/DAR to formulate policy guidelines that will cover previous contracts negotiated prior to AO 9 to ensure the participation of the DAR

5. For the PARC/DAR to consider the possibility of lodging the approval/revocation of AVA under one approving authority preferably at the regional level in as much as the PARC seldom convenes

There was also a recommendation to include those who are engaged in the rubber plantation in future forums on AVA implementation.

According to Undersecretary for Finance, Planning and Administration (FPAO) and PARC Secretary Atty. David Erro, all recommendations will be submitted to the policy review committee for consideration. “Kailangan po nating isabay ang effort ng mga magsasaka para idulog ang mga kontrata sa PARC at sa DARAB para sabay na mapag-aralan,” he added.

DAR is given the authority by relevant provisions of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to regulate the implementation of AVAs. The department issued AO 2 series of 1999, which was amended by AO 9 series of 2006, and was subsequently revoked by AO 4 series of 2006 to effectively implement AVA schemes. However, agrarian chief Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano suspended the implementation of AO 4 in view of numerous issues encountered and is now being reviewed and revised by concerned DAR units.

The Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) is the highest policy making body of the CARP as mandated by Section 14 of the Republic Act No. 9700 and amended under Section 37 of RA 6657. Under the law, it is tasked to “formulate policies to ensure that support services for ARBs shall be provided at all stages of the program implementation with the concurrence of the concerned agrarian reform beneficiaries.”

Furthermore, Section 44 of RA 6657 was amended by Section 3 of RA 7905, assigning the Provincial Agrarian Reform Coordinating Committee (PARCCOM) the role of recommending PARC the “continuous processing of applications for the lease back arrangements, joint venture agreements, and other schemes that will optimize the operating size for agricultural production and also promote both security of tenure and security of income to farmer beneficiaries; provided that lease back arrangements should be the last resort.”

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