DAR aims to put more private land under agrarian reform

MANILAThe Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will formally ask Congress to extend the Philippines' Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) so the agency could issue more notices of coverage (NOCs) to owners of land that could be distributed to landless farmers.

"We'll submit to Congress our proposed CARP extension law for legislators' consideration," DAR Undersecretary David Erro said in a press conference on Tuesday.

CARP is a government initiative granting agricultural land ownership to landless farmers and farm workers nationwide.

The proposed law aims to enable DAR to resume issuing NOCs to landlords for their properties to be subjected to agrarian reform.

"DAR must be empowered to issue NOCs again, so we need the law," Erro said.

Earlier, DAR estimated that 300,000 to 500,000 hectares of land nationwide do not have NOCs.

NOCs are letters informing landowners that their land has been placed under the government's agrarian reform for distribution to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

Republic Act No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, had set a 10-year period for CARP's implementation.

In 1998, the government passed RA 8532, which amended RA 6657 and set CARP funding until 2008. The government again extended CARP's implementation to June 30, 2014 by passing RA 9700 in 2009.

The issuance of NOCs ended on such date, DAR said.

Unless the government again extends CARP's implementation period, DAR said it could no longer issue NOCs.

The period for CARP's new extension will depend on congressional action covering the proposed law of DAR, noted Erro.

He said early approval of the proposed extension would enable DAR to begin carrying out the administration's agrarian reform drive soon.

To speed up congressional action on the matter, Erro said, DAR might seek MalacaAang's certification of the proposed CARP extension law as urgent.

The agrarian official said DAR continues distributing NOC-covered land to ARBs nationwide even if CARP's implementation period ended already.

"We were already able to distribute this year around 20,000 hectares," Erro said, adding that DAR aims to distribute about 50,000 hectares of the NOC-covered land each year. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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