President Rodrigo R. Duterte ordered the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to facilitate the survey and re-documentation of collective land titles to certificates of land ownership awards (CLOA).
According to a study made in 2017, some 2.251 million hectares collective CLOAs of agricultural lands have been issued by DAR.
Of these landholdings, 76% were awarded to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB), who were not actually engaged in collective farming.
“This has affected farmer’s individual property rights and has discouraged farmers from making long term improvements on the land. And I don’t blame them,” Agrarian Reform Secretary John R. Castriciones said in a statement.
“If you own part of a collective CLOA, it’s hard to make decisions on what crops to plant and how to plan your farm. Why? Because you have to consult other farmers and what the majority wants will prevail,” he added. “This is also the reason why the President wants all collective land titles issued by the Department transformed to individual titles. Separate CLOAs for each farmer-beneficiary is better because it enables them to have a clear and defined ownership of parcels of land.”
In another study made by the Land Bank of the Philippines, one of the major reasons for the low collection rate of land amortization is that many titles distributed to ARBs were collective CLOAs, thus individual amortizations could not be properly computed and collected.
The directive to divide collective parcels of lots was given by the President during the 36th Cabinet Meeting held on April 1, 2019, at the Malacañan Palace.
In the course of the discussion, the President instructed the DAR to convene a task force and come up with a program to ensure the distribution of individual CLOAs from the collective titles and remaining workable balance of agricultural lands.
“To accomplish the President’s directive, we have created a separate office that will facilitate the ‘parcelization’ of collective CLOAs into individual CLOAs,” Castriciones said.
The office, called Agrarian Reform Title Stabilization (ARTS) and headed by Undersecretary David Erro, will form teams and provide timeline and guidelines in the implementation of the said order.
During the Cabinet meeting, the President also acknowledged that the conduct of the survey would require financing.
As such, the President said he will exert all efforts to respond to the required funding for the hiring of surveyors and survey equipment.
In relation to this, Duterte instructed the Finance Secretary to raise funds to support the DAR’s program. (PNA)
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