TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Eastern Visayas proved that modern technology can be of great help indeed at these times when mass gathering is strictly prohibited as the whole world experiences pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
DAR officials, both from the central, regional and provincial offices, realized this after several issues delaying the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) were immediately addressed in the recently conducted integrated and blended learning session cum problem-solving with officials from the Registry of Deeds (ROD), Land Bank of the Philippines-Agrarian Operation Center (LBP-AOC) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
DAR OIC-Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay said that though most of the participants were joining the session remotely, it proved to be a fruitful one, for many of the issues were resolved with the intervention of Undersecretary for Field Operations Office, David Erro; Assistant Secretary Jim Coleto; Director of the Bureau of Land Tenure Improvement, Joey Sumatra; and Director of Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance, Marjorie Ayson.
Undersecretary for Foreign-Assisted and Special Project Office Bernie Cruz also joined the online session and provided inputs related to Support for Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) project.
Aya-ay applauded when the chairman of the Project Management Executive Committee at the Land Registration Authority (LRA) Central Office, as relayed by ROD Regional Director Atty. Emeterio Villanoza, committed to work out the immediate release of the 39 RP titles covering 354.4 hectares pending in their office.
Once released, generation of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) in the names of the qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) will follow.
Meanwhile, DAR Central Office officials promised to do the follow-up for the activities at the central office level with the different concerned line agencies.
On the other hand, Assistant Secretary Coleto gave closure to the question that was confronting the LBP-AOC on whether a landholding issued with “Notice of Coverage” (NOC) prior to June 30, 2014 could still be covered under the Voluntary Offer to Sell (VOS) scheme even if the offer was done after the said date.
According to Coleto, Section 30 of the Republic Act No. 9700 stated that as long as an NOC was issued before June 30, 2014, the coverage may proceed. “Though the VOS was accepted on a later date, the process is still considered valid and it may still proceed following the said provision,” he added.
This particular issue involves about 325 hectares and is now considered settled. “Under VOS, landowners shall be paid the corresponding five percent cash incentive in accordance with the law,” Coleto stressed.
DAR Eastern Visayas regularly holds a quarterly problem-solving session with line agencies to thresh out issues that hinder the smooth implementation of CARP in the region.
“If this pandemic will continue to threaten everyone, this office will adapt to the new normal so we could deliver our targets,” said Aya-ay.
Furthermore, Chief of the Land Tenure Service Division, Francisco Diloy, disclosed that DAR Eastern Visayas has already accomplished 577 hectares or 27 percent of its 2,151-hectare target in Land Acquisition and Distribution for this year. (JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA) ###