One big push for land reform needed — DAR

Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones on Wednesday urged the chairpersons of various provincial agrarian reform coordinating committees to push for a stronger implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program nationwide.

The Department of Agrarian Reform is now holding a national conference for the PARCCOM to orient them on its latest and revised guidelines, apprise them on the status of the agrarian reform program implementation and underscore the challenges hounding the implementation of the program.

Castriciones, Presidential Agrarian Reform Council vice chairperson, said the activity plays a significant role in accomplishing President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders for DAR.

“The President has ordered us to finish the DAR’s land acquisition and distribution balance as soon as possible, distribute all government-owned lands and parcel the collective certificates of land ownership award to our farmer-beneficiaries. We need your commitment to help us accomplish this,” he said.

Since the implementation of CARP in 1988, the government has 548,564 hectares remaining of lands to be distributed to the agrarian reform beneficiaries, mostly categorized as problematic landholdings.

Through Executive Order No. 75 signed by the President in 2019, the department is mandated to distribute government-owned lands all over the country.

According to Castriciones, the agency would be subdividing 1.3 million hectares of collective certificates of land ownership award through the implementation of the Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT).

“Around 1.1-million farmers would benefit from SPLIT,” he said.

“If we will work hand-in-hand, we can do this,” Castriciones told the PARCCOM.

PARC is the highest policy-making body for agrarian reform in the country, while the PARCCOM members are composed of representatives from various sectors such as landowners, farmer-beneficiaries, farmers’ organizations, cooperatives, indigenous peoples and non-governmental organizations.