A Dim Light at the End of the Tunnel
The high inequality of land distribution in the Philippines goes back to the Spanish regime wherein most of the agricultural land was owned by the Friars. Through time, the Friars began to distribute the ownership of the lands to the powerful and influential families so as to gain their side. The coming of Americans nor the Japanese did not address the problem of land distribution inequity. And as observed, the problem of unequal land distribution has persisted and is still very much present up to this day. Thus, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program was launched by the then president Corazon Aquino to address land distribution.
Without proper implementation, carefully formulated programs and policies designed to address specific problems become ineffective. The case of agrarian reform policies in the Philippines is one of such. Agrarian reform in the Philippines had started more than twenty years ago. Despite the efforts and actions of the government together with its partner agencies, the progress of agrarian reform in the Philippines has been poor.
In line with that, this paper aims to determine the reasons why the implementation of agrarian reform policies, particularly the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, failed to achieve its goal which is to redistribute land in order to alleviate poverty. II. Methodology
The findings of the study were generated through the presentation and interpretation of available data sources already consolidated by the Policy Brief prepared in 2008 by Herminia Caringal, Maria Cristina Rubio-Pardalis, and Merwin Salazar. In fact, sections which do not have citations mean that these have been drawn heavily from this source. Other sources were also used to complement the information from the Policy Brief.
III. Results and Discussion
The following are the major factors and issues that hinder the effective implementation of CARP: 1. insufficient funds
2. lack of political will
3. collective ownership of land
4. land valuation issues
5. land conversion issues
6. poor governance
7. beneficiary issues
8. supply-related constraints
1. Insufficient funds
One of the main reasons why there is a lack of effectiveness in the implementation of CARP is the insufficiency of funds. Caringal, Pardalis, and Salazar (2008) claim that even after 20 years of implementing CARP, which started in 1987, it was found that the program did not have so much contribution in poverty alleviation especially in the rural sector. There are two main causes of this insufficiency. First, the financial support coming from the government is not enough. Funds released by the government is not enough to pay for land acquisition and distribution (LAD) which includes the compensation for the landowners who will lose the land to be given to the farmers. Second, the collection of amortization payments of farmers is low. The cost of collecting amortization payments is higher than the amount of the actual collection. But in most cases, the collection is low because the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) do not have money to pay for the land. For instance, in 1997, the funds generated was only 25% of the estimated amount to be collected; in 2004, the funds generated was 50% of what was required; and in 2007, only P137 billion was released for the program which was even lower than the P222 billion released in 1988. 2. Lack of Political Will
Political will, as defined by Brinkerhoff (2010), is “the commitment of actors to undertake actions to achieve a set of objectives”. The lack of harmony in the functions among the agencies that help in implementing CARP made the Philippines one of the least successful in terms of land reform in comparison to other Asian countries (Deininger 2004).
The lack of political will is perhaps a result of the fact that the landowners have strong political influence. It would be irrational for...
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