Status of Agrarian Reform
The idea of initiating land reform programs in Philippines can be traced back to 1963. The enactment of the Republic Act (RA) 3844, Section 49, better known as the Agricultural Land Reform Code emphasized on the foundation of an organization called the Land Authority.Established on 8th August 1963, the Land Authority was endowed with the responsibility of implementing the Republic Act 3844 policies. To hasten up the other activities associated with the land reform programs in Philippines, the Republic Act 3844 offered formal recognition to all the existing agencies involved with similar activities. The functions of these agencies were re-coordinated, with the aim of fulfilling the common objectives of the land reform programs.
The year 1988 saw the formulation of Republic Act No. 6657, popular as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law or CARL. The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law or CARL was enacted to offer lawful basis for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program or CARP, suggesting the implementation methods as well. In fact, it was the CARL, which empowered the CARP for supporting the activities of the agro-based industries in the country. The Department of Agrarian Reform was further re-named as the Department of Land Reform in this era. The Executive Order 364, signed by the Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was enacted to widen the areas of operation of the Department of Land Reform, making it accountable for all land reform activities and programs in Philippines. Further, the Executive Order also made the Department, controller and supervisory body of the Philippine Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP). In addition, recognition of the ownership of the ancestral lands of the native Philippine population also came under the jurisdiction of the Department of Land Reform.
Very recently, Executive Order No. 456 was signed by President Arroyo on 23rd August 2005. This Order commanded the Department of Land Reform to revert back to its original name, Department of Agrarian Reform. The aim of the Executive Order 456 was to do something more other than mere reformation of the agrarian land. This specific order considered all the important factors to promote beneficial activities which can lead to overall economic upliftment of the Philippine agricultural sector and the peasant class.
At the end of the 20th century, the Philippine population was 75.32 millionor about 12.7 families comprising of six persons for each family unit. Thesepeople are living in a country of 297,410 square kilometers, making thecountry’s population density of 253 people per square kilometer. The Philippinepopulation growth is about 2.02 per year and in the next 25 year, the populationis expected to double, unless abated by population measures. Theunemployment and underemployment rate is 11.2 percent and 21.7 percent,respectively. In1998, the infant mortality rate was 41.2 per 1,000 live births.Sixty percent of the Philippine population is rural. Over 11.32 million of allFilipinos make their living directly from agricultural cultivation. In 1991, some9.50 million hectares were planted to various crops, out of a total farm area of 9.97 million hectares. Most of the remaining lands are identified to be idle landsbut arable (0.10 million hectares) and non-arable land comprising meadows orcovered with forest brown (0.15 million hectares). The current ratio of croppedhectares per farm family is 1.19.
Highlights of Accomplishments
A) Land Transfer Component
Under the CARP, a total of 10.3 million hectares of land was programmed for distribution over a ten-year period. This consist of 6.5 million hectares of public alienable and disposal lands and Integrated Social Forestry (ISF) areas to be distributed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)and 3.8 million hectares of private agricultural lands and resettlement areas to be distributed by the DAR. The total land distribution performance of DAR from July 1987 to June,1992 was 1.77 million hectares benefiting .933 million agrarian reform beneficiaries, while DENR has distributed 1.88 million hectares to .760 million farmers. The overall accomplishment of this administration including land under P.D. 27 was 34.56 percent for land distributed and 49.79 percent for beneficiaries provided with land titles. Table 4 presents the detailed accomplishment. For the non-land transfer scheme DAR was able to free from the bondage of share tenancy 170,904 tenants tilling 267,160 hectares. Stock distribution option as an alternative to land distribution was implemented covering 7,275hectares, wherein 4,900 hectares comprise the Hacienda Luisita of President Aquino. In terms of the production and profit scheme, 84 companies have distributed P216.2 million of production and profit shares to 81,992 farmworkers. This provision requires that, pending final land transfer, entities owning or operating agricultural lands and realizing gross sales of more than P5 million shall pay their farmworkers three percent of the gross sales as production shares and ten percent of net profit after tax, as profit shares. Of the lands covered by land transfer scheme, 168,846 hectares have been processed for payment by the Land Bank of the Philippines as land compensation to landowners amounting to P1.87 million. In the resolution of agrarian cases, DAR has settled 219,286 of the 259,156 total cases involving administrative implementation of the law. Of the cases requiring quasi-judicial disposition, 4,672 were adjudicated. The performance was hampered by the lack of lawyers due to low salary scale.
B) Program Beneficiaries Component The delivery of support services was an inter-agency collaboration activity involving the CARP implementing agencies. These support services are credit, construction of rehabilitation of physical infrastructure such a farm to market road, access trails, irrigation system, small water impounding and pos-harvest facilities, establishment of livelihood projects and organizing of the beneficiaries into cooperatives to manage the livelihood projects. To fund the program, P 50 Billion has been allocated. However, only P 24.01 Billion was made available by the government. Out of this amount, P20.86 Billion was utilized by various agencies to implement the program. The only amount available for the next administration was P 3.15 Billion unless new money from PCGG and APT are remitted to the Treasury for CARP implementation.
Philippine agrarian reform law was institutionalized to promote social justice in the agricultural sector of Philippine. The primary objective of Philippine agrarian reform law was to secure agricultural workers in Philippine by allocating agricultural land to them. After the formation of Land Authority in 1963, the land reform in Philippine started to take place. The newly found agency was necessitated to implement some policies, which were necessary to accomplish the common objectives of land reform program.
Land distribution accomplishment of the DAR from 1972-2012 show that more than three-fourths of distributed lands (76%) are either government-owned lands (GOL/KKK lands and settlements) or lands distributed through voluntary modes of acquisition (voluntary land transfers or voluntary offer to sell). Past DAR Secretaries rode the wave of easily acquired lands and the distribution of collective certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) to abbreviate the protocols in achieving targets. Consciously or unconsciously, the DAR prioritized lands that were easier, less contentious, and less tedious to acquire and distribute, effectively leaving the hardest for last and resulting in the progressive increase in the complexity of lands slated for acquisition and distribution.
What is left to distribute is radically different: more difficult, more tedious and more contentious. It is these more complex lands that government is now acquiring and distributing. Around 90% of the current land acquisition and distribution (LAD) balance consists of private agricultural lands, with 83% of lands being compensable by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and 61% requiring coverage by compulsory acquisition. Moreover, 42% are large private agricultural lands of more than 24 hectares. As of January 1, 2013, the remaining LAD balance to be acquired by DAR is at 879,526 hectares.