The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program extension with reforms will not end on June 30, 2014 if there still open cases then, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, said yesterday.
De los Reyes, who was in Bacolod City yesterday for the signing of the memorandum of agreement with the Sugar Regulatory Administration on block farming, said that Republic Act 9700, or CAPRer Law, provides that the program will continue until they have issued the notices of coverage on the remaining landholdings in the country.
DAR is lambasted for its low performance but people do not know that what are left for coverage are mostly private lands, he said.
“Sixty-one percent of our balance for coverage is private lands by way of compulsory acquisition. Since these are private lands, we have to make sure that its land title and technical description and the beneficiaries, are all correct before we pay for it,” de los Reyes said.
The process is slow because those being covered are private lands and DAR is fast-tracking the issuance of the notices of coverage and once they are covered, the provisions in the law will be applied, he said.
He also noted that many of the distributed lands were voluntary land transfers and those government-owned, while very few are covered with compulsory acquisition.
In the past year, DAR has examined all the claim folders to make sure that we are fully aware of the problems and it is not only DAR that is involved in CARPer but there is also the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Land Registration Authority that verify the technical description and land titles of the areas covered, he also said.
De los Reyes also said that the majority of the CARPer balance is not from sugarcane areas but coconut, but the large landholdings are in the sugar industry.
He also said he is prepared to meet with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to explain what is happening in DAR.
De los Reyes also presented the notice of approval of the Agrarian Production Credit Program loans to two agrarian reform beneficiary organizations in Negros Occidental.
The recipients are the CASA Agrarian Reform Cooperative of Brgy. Concepcion, Talisay City and PFPC Agrarian Reform Cooperative of Brgy. Mabini, Cadiz City.
CASA-ARC received P1,920,000 and PFPC-ARC P1.5 million.
De los Reyes said the APCP loan is part of the commitment of the government to provide access to credit to CARP beneficiaries through their organization.*LTG