DAR: 700% hike on land title distribution to farmers under PBBM

ACCOMPLISHED. Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III (left) reports significant increase in the land title distribution to farmers under President FerdInand R. Marcos Jr. during a briefing on Tuesday (July 9, 2024). According to data, 131,113 land titles, equivalent to 157,766 hectares, were given to at least 133,693 agrarian reform beneficiaries in the first two years of the Marcos administration, up from 17,640 land titles distributed from March 2021 to June 2022. (Screengrab)
MANILA – In line with the directives of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) sped up its land title distribution to benefit more farmers, posing at a 743-percent increase since July 2022.
During the pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) briefing aired by People's Television Network, DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella III assured an increasing upward trajectory in the government's land distribution for agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
"Noong umupo ang ating Pangulo, sabi niya bakit kakaunti lang ito, paspasan nga ninyo, sabi niya. E di ginawa namin iyong aming makakaya (When our President assumed office, he asked us why the distributed land titles were so few. He ordered us to speed it up. Of course, we did our best)," he said.
According to the data provided by DAR, 131,113 land titles, equivalent to 157,766 hectares, were given to at least 133,693 ARBs in the first two years of the Marcos administration.
This is a significant increase from 17,640 land titles distributed from March 2021 to June 2022.
From July to December 2022 alone, around 21,876 titles were awarded.
For 2023, Estrella said DAR exceeded the Congress-instructed target of 50,000 land titles, hitting as high as 69,899 land titles awarded nationwide.
For 2024, he said the department aims to distribute 100,000 land titles.
"Itong taon na ito, ito pa lang kalahati ng taon, nakaka-42,000 titles na ang ating naipamahagi sa ating (For this year, for just the first half, we have already awarded 42,000 titles to our) agrarian reform beneficiaries," he said.
Overall, there are 1.3 million land titles subject for land distribution to ARBs, 300,000 of which are awaiting court decisions.
Additionally, Estrella said DAR has also started evaluating 56,000 hectares of government-owned lands (GOLs) under Executive Order (EO) 75.
"It will encourage young people to go into farming, thereby, helping our food security program," Estrella said.
Under EO 75, GOLs that are classified as "alienable and disposable land" shall be granted to farmers, agricultural graduates, retired military personnel, overseas Filipino workers and rebel returnees.
Support services
Estrella, meanwhile, emphasized that DAR's service is not limited to land distribution as other forms of support were also provided to ARBs, including the construction of farm-to-market roads (FMR), irrigation projects and distribution of machinery, among others.
"Iyan ay parte ng support services na ipinapamigay natin sa ating mga magsasaka (That's part of the support services being given to farmers)," he said.
For FMRs, the DAR has already completed 219 projects totaling 151 kilometers worth P2.3 billion; while 89 FMR projects worth P2.1 billion are ongoing.
Estrella also cited the completion of 116 irrigation projects covering 3,800 hectares worth P1.3 billion, as well as the ongoing P284.6 million worth of irrigation covering a thousand hectares for 17 projects.
For farm machinery and equipment, DAR has provided 5,451 units to 1,450 ARB organizations, amounting to P262 million.
Estrella, said they are also eyeing new support services, including the establishment of storage facilities for onion farmers and tissue culture laboratories for coconut farmers to help them boost their production.
New Agrarian Emancipation Act
Estrella likewise announced that the DAR will start the distribution on July 19 of the certificate of condonation and release of mortgage to ARBs who can no longer pay their amortization.
"Ito po ay napakalaking accomplishment ng administrasyon ng ating mahal na Pangulo (This is a very big accomplishment of the administration of our President)," he said referring to Republic Act (RA) No. 11953, or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act.
President Marcos Jr. signed RA 11953 on July 9, 2023, which condones all loans, including interests, penalties, and surcharges incurred by ARBs from land awarded to them.
Estrella explained that the administration's move stemmed from recognizing ARBs inability to pay due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, uncontrollable impacts of rising fuel and fertilizer prices in the global market, and the effects of climate change.
For the remaining half of the year, he said the DAR will distribute 300,000 certificates of condonation nationwide.
Under RA11953, P57.557 billion worth of principal debt of 610,054 ARBs tilling a total of 1,173,101.57 hectares of agrarian reform lands nationwide will be condoned. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2024-Jul-17 07.06 +0800