DAR land distribution continues

BAGUIO CITY, Benguet—The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will continue to distribute more than six million hectares to landless peasants and farmers despite expiration of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) last June 30, Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said on Monday.

He said DAR has distributed nearly seven million hectares of more than 14 million alienable and disposal land and the department has until 2016 to parcel out the rest to the peasants and farmers.

“DAR employees still have a lot of work to do,” De los Reyes told employees during his working visit in Baguio.

CARP expired on June 30 after Congress failed to pass a bill seeking its extension for another three years. CARP, which was enacted into law in 1985, was one of the landmark accomplishments of former president Corazon Aquino, mother of the incumbent president.

CARP has two major components: notice of coverage—placing certain properties under government control—and land distribution. The power to issue notice of coverage to landowners expired on

June 30.

De los Reyes said the government’s duty to distribute land has no deadline because of the constitutional mandate to distribute land to the landless despite the various problems of classifications.

“Titles do not identify the land as agricultural. We cannot rely on tax declaration or zoning ordinances (in identifying agricultural lands) because we will encounter complications, considering the different interpretations of local governments in relation to the status of lands in their respective areas,” he said.

De los Reyes said DAR has one and a half year of work left as far as distribution of lands is concerned.

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