DAR marks CARP’s 31st year, eyes 5 idle government lands
posted 15-Sep-2019  ·  
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The Department of Agrarian Reform in Catanduanes last week celebrated the 31st anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by touting its accomplishments and expressing hope for the passage of a new law expanding its scope.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Alexander Teves, with Virac Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento as guest, led the distribution of P2.36 million worth of farm equipment, including four hand tractors and five topdown haulers, to some of the 37 Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organizations (ARBOs) which have over 15,300 members in the island.

Also among those who joined the distribution were Chief ARPO Nerisa Aldea, Legal Division Chief Atty. Maria Victoria Llanera, Municipal ARPO Manuel Reyes, and Chief Administrative Officer Sarah Tito.

Acting Governor Shirley Abundo and Caramoran Mayor Glenda Aguilar later attended the dialogue on CARP’s major programs at the DAR provincial office’s atrium.

Missing from the celebration were Catanduanes Congressman Hector Sanchez and TGP partylist Rep. Jose Teves Jr., who were both invited to be briefed on the proposed measure expanding’s responsibilities and renaming it as the Department of Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (DARRD).

Sanchez was reportedly in Europe while Teves was to attend a budget hearing in Congress.

In a press conference held at his office, PARPO Teves said the expansion of DAR’s scope would result in some overlap with the functions of the Department of Agriculture (DA) especially in granting assistance to farmers who are also members of ARBOs.

With Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) of CARP-covered lands already completes in Catanduanes, Teves disclosed that it is now targeting for possible distribution a total of 392 hectares of idle government lands in the province.

He identified those properties now being validated as that of the former Catanduanes Agricultural and Industrial College (CAIC) in Panganiban town with 217 hectares, Catanduanes State University (CSU) in Virac with 44 hectares, the defunct Bureau of Plant Industry in San Miguel with 63 hectares, Catanduanes Abaca Seed in Caramoran with 33 hectares and the Catanduanes Development Corporation in Caramoran with 35 hectares.

Executive Order 75 issued by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte directs the identification, validation, segregation, transfer and distribution of all government-owned lands, devoted to or suitable for agriculture and which are no longer actually, directly and exclusively used or necessary for the purpose for which they have been reserved or acquired, for the purpose of eventual distribution to qualified beneficiaries.”

Those eligible for receiving GOL under the IRR are Filipino farmers, landless farmworkers, and those who own less than three hectares of agricultural land; residents of the barangay or the municipality where the land is located; at least 15 years old at the time of identification, screening and selection of beneficiaries; with the willingness and ability to cultivate the land for production.

The DAR provincial chief also bared that the disposition of cases of illegal land conversion at the regional office is now being streamlines for faster resolution following complaints that the cases, as well as applications for land conversions, took too long to resolve.

Support services for agrarian reform beneficiaries have been stepped up, with those engaged in livelihood projects receiving regular mentoring sessions and trainings on skills, technology and management. The agency also facilitated loans from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) for three ARBOs with 60 members who will use it as capital for farming ventures.

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