COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM PROGRAM
For a long period of time, Philippine land was owned by the private sectors. This started during the Spanish regime when the land was primarily owned by the large landlords and the friars. The Philippine farmers found it hard to acquire land during that time because the only basis for ownership is ancestral domain ship. Agrarian rights were established during the American occupation, but only few initiatives were given and the rich families still continue to own the Philippine land.
The first comprehensive agrarian reform order was attempted in the country in 1972. A month after the martial law, President Marcos issued Presidential Decree no. 27 making the Philippines a land reform nation. This reform order states that an individual cannot own more than seven hectares of land. The remaining area will be given out in portions to individual tenants. The tenant may acquire a maximum of 3 hectares of irrigated land or 5 hectares of unused land in exchange for payments such as royalty taxes, etc. This reform program was unpopular thus making it a total failure.
On June 22, 1987, President Corazon Aquino outlined the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) through Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order 229. The law was enacted by the 8th Congress of the Philippines and signed by former President Aquino on June 10, 1988.
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law is the basis of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which was the centerpiece program of President Corazon Aquino’s Administration. The program was said to have an underlying political motivation for it formed one of the major points against Marcos during President Aquino’s Presidential campaign.
The essence of CARP is asset revaluation or redistribution of wealth so that the landless farmers can have access to capital resources in order to promote their welfare. Its aim is the equitable distribution and ownership of land to the tiller and to provide opportunities for a dignified quality of life to the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs). To accomplish these objectives, provisions were made for adequate support services for rural development and economic-size farms were established as the basis of Philippine Agriculture.
The program was given a special fund of P50 billion. The sources of the Agrarian Reform Fund was proceeds of the sale of the Assets of the Asset Privatization Trust (ATP), the sale of the ill-gotten wealth recovered through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and other appropriate sources. The CARP has an 8.1 million hectare scope. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) was assigned to distribute 4.3 million while the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was assigned with 3.8 million hectares to distribute. As of December 2005, it was reported that The Department of Agrarian Reform had distributed 3.65 million hectares and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2.93 million hectares. Even though the DAR and the DENR distributed a large number of lands, it didn’t reach the goal set in the program.
“Twenty Years later, the Government’s land reform effort has woefully short of its goals – by some 1.3 million hectares of private farmland” (Facts not Slogan, the Business Mirror)
The distribution of land to the tiller is below the expected target. It was not accomplished during the first term of CARP which was 10 years. The government’s slowness in land transfer activities is because of the following factors:
1.lack of political will to implement agrarian reform
2.manifest in operational and legal bottlenecks
3.blockades by big land owners who have seats in Congress and posts in the Government bureaucracy
But the main reason was the lack of resources to fund the program. The actual requirement estimated by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) in 1987 was 221.09 billion to ensure the...