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DAR asks Duterte’s help in distributing reservation areas of USM, CFCST

news reg 1 pix 1 may 23 2017AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano has sought the help of President Duterte in distributing to landless farmers some 3,800 hectares of reservation areas of the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) and of the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology (CFCST).

In a memorandum addressed to the President, Mariano requested for the issuance of a presidential order that supports the placement of unused portion of the landholdings of the USM and CFCST under the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Mariano also asked President Duterte that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) be allowed “to immediately proceed with the acquisition and distribution of the landholdings of the USM and the CFCST and the identification of possible beneficiaries.

The DAR chief also asked the President to direct the Commission on Higher Education and the governing Board of Directors of the USM and the CFCST to issue the necessary resolutions that would allow the DAR to cover the institutions’ unused areas.

The USM’s and the CFCST’s unused areas cover a total of 3,878 hectares, which encompass through seven barangays of the municipality of Arakan, Cotabato – Badiangon, Doroluman, Ilustre, Makalangot, Malibatuan, Meocan and Naje.

The said landholdings had been placed under CARP coverage since July 28, 2008 when the DAR issued a notice of coverage to the managements of the USM and the CFCST by virtue of the Executive Order No. 407, as amended by EO 448, issued by the late President Corazon Aquino in 1990.

The said EO mandates DAR to accelerate the transfer/distribution of lands suitable for agricultural that are owned, reserved for state colleges and universities.

Officials of the USM and the CFCST, however, have yet to issue the Deeds of Transfer as they allegedly could not agree on who among them has the authority to sign the said document.

The question has lingered on despite the issuance of Opinion No. 13, series of 2012, by the Department of Justice, concurring with the view of the DAR that there is no legal impediment that prevents USM and the CFCST from turning over to the DAR portions of its reservation areas.

The DAR’s view states that: “The lands or some of its portions that are reserved by virtue of presidential proclamation for specific public uses shall be segregated from the reservation and transferred to the DAR for distribution under CARP to qualified beneficiaries if the two conditions are present:

1.    That the lands or portions thereof are suitable for agriculture; and,

2.    That the same is determined by the DAR, in coordination with concerned government agencies or instrumentalities, as no longer actually, directly and exclusively or necessary for the purpose for which they have been reserved.”

#DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #PartnerForChange


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