Govt allocates P10B for land acquisition under CARP

The administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III has allocated in its budget for next year some P10.179 billion to acquire some 300,000 hectares of private and public estates for redistribution to farmer beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas said the P10.179 billion is 15.4 percent or P1.363 billion greater than this year’s P8.816-billion allocation for the land acquisition and distribution plan of the government.

“The fresh funding will enable the DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) to take over some 200,000 hectares of private land and 100,000 hectares of public land, and then parcel the estates out to small landless farmers,” he said.

Gullas made the statement as government is preparing to renew formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF).

Confiscatory land reform — the seizure of estates owned by big landlords and the subsequent redistribution of the holdings to landless peasants — formed part of the NDF’s original 10-point program put forth in the 1980s.

The Cebu solon said the 300,000 hectares targeted for acquisition and distribution next year would cover around 20 percent of the residual undistributed lands.

Thus far, government has awarded a total of 7,558,777 hectares of land to some five million agrarian reform beneficiaries nationwide, leaving only 1,485,295 hectares still undistributed, according to the DAR.

In August 2009, Congress passed Republic Act no. 9700, which extended by another five years the implementation of CARP, which included the land acquisition and distribution scheme.

Under the law, the DAR has up to June 30, 2014 to complete its land procurement and dispersal program and expand the economic opportunities of small farmers who currently do not own the land they are cultivating. Lilybeth G. Ison, PNA

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