Quezon City, July 16 - Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafae "Ka Paeng" Mariano is seeking to stay the implementation of Administrative Order No. 3, series of 2016, saying that it may tempt cash-strapped farmer-beneficiaries to pawn or sell their individual farmlots, instead of tilling them by themselves, for lack of capital for farm inputs.
The Administrative Order No. 3 of 2016 calls for the parcelization or subdivision of collective certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to individual land title to enable farmer-beneficiaries to gain “clear and defined ownership of parcels of land.”
While the intention is good, Mariano said the said administrative order might lead to the consolidation of farmlands back to the former landowners or moneyed individuals, who will take advantage of the farmer-beneficiaries’ economic plight.”
“Many of our farmer-beneficiaries are among those belonging to the 70 percent of the poorest of the poor. They may not have sufficient means to effectively and efficiently till on their own the farmlots awarded to them under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP),” said the DAR chief, who is the former chairman of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
Mariano said he still believes that collective farming remains a better option especially for farmer-beneficiaries who lack financial capital to sustain farming activities on their own.
“I am a firm believer that ‘in unity we derive our strength.’ This is specially true to our farmer-beneficiaries, who can maximize the limited resources each of them has if they will pool them together and use them for the greater good of everybody,” Mariano said.
The AO No. 3 of 2016 covers all collective CLOAs issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to farmers’ cooperatives and associations and group of farmer-beneficiaries who are not organized.
Exempted from the said directive are: (1) Landholdings under collective CLOAs that are not appropriate for individual farming; (2) Labor system is specialized where farmworkers are organized by functions such as spraying, weeding and packing, among others; (3) Farmer-beneficiaries are working collectively on large contiguous areas; and, (4) The farm consists of multiple crops and is farmed in an integrated manner. (DAR)