IMPLEMENTATION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM PROGRAM IN THE PROVINCE OF MARINDUQUE(1997-2001)
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM PROGRAM IN THE PROVINCE OF MARINDUQUE (1997 – 2001)
THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND
For the latter half of the 20th century, there has been a resurgence in the view that agrarian reform was the imperative for rural development. Asian tigers like Japan, Taiwan and South Korea completed their agrarian reform programs before becoming the economic leaders in the region today. These countries have set the example that agrarian reform is the platform to social equity and development for other developing countries burdened with centuries of landlessness for their small farmers. However, during the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (WCARRD) in 1989, the WCARRD noted little or no reform in the area of access to land and changes in land tenure in Asia. According to the WCARRD 1989 report, "tenancy reforms as a whole have had only limited success and only where strong peasant movements made enough pressure for their implementation." Government political will did not measure up to agreements they reached under WCARRD for policy reforms and implemented action plans, particularly on access to land. However, pressure from the ground by the peasant movements and other civil society alliances brought about desired results of access to land and other resources.
Twenty years later, the view that agrarian reform is the primary rural development strategy has shifted. Governments have opted to follow the path of industrialization and globalization toward development and poverty alleviation. Alternative approaches to agrarian reform have emerged. Some give particular emphasis on the demands of market forces on agricultural production that may conflict with the social equity goals of agrarian reform. More proactive follow-up activities to these conferences, such as active lobbying campaigns by some civil society groups, were also conducted targeting concerned government and intergovernmental agencies. Hence, the strategy of proactive lobbying to secure resource rights has led to more direct results to the grassroots communities involved. At the same time, a number of initiatives and case studies on grassroots experiences in agrarian reform and resource rights need to be documented and shared at the international, regional, national and local levels. These experiences cover a broad range of efforts in upscaling tenurial security technologies, mainstreaming tripartite approaches, strategic networking for people-led campaigns among others. Thus, discussions are necessary to clearly grasp these new trends affecting land reform and what direction NGOs shall take given current options and trends
On the Philippines' experience on state-led land reform, former DAR Undersecretary said that although the land reform program in the Philippines is state-led, it is not led by the state in the sense as the programs in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. As such, the program was not pushed primarily by the ruling party nor was it a pro-active program. It was not a deliberate decision on the part of the government following careful scientific study. Instead, it was a compromise. On the one hand, it was the fruit of the efforts of hundreds of thousands of organized farmers and their allies who had been demanding it for many years. And like other compromise legislation, its implementation is and has been problematic. It is subject to the push and pull of political forces. For example, during the administration of President 130,000 hectares were transferred. On this basis, it would take 23 more years to distribute the rest of the privately held land due to be transferred under the CARP. Bulatao projected that the implementation of the CARP will be hard-going in the next years. However, he expressed hope that civil society organizations and state reformists within the Department of Agrarian Reform will not give up. He is not too optimistic of big new breakthroughs but said that if small steps forward can be made, or if past gains can be protected, then it would be well worth the effort. He summed up by saying that agrarian reform is something that happens at a historical juncture for countries. "We are not dealing with theoretical concepts but in the interaction of various players."
Historical Background of the Study
In the Philippines, as the country celebrates its 104 years of independence, the century-old struggle of the small farmers for agrarian rights continues. Skewed landownership patterns remain unsolved and continue to plague agriculture. It is estimated that 2.9 million small farms (<5 ha) occupy slightly more than one-half of the total farm area, while only 13,681 medium-sized and large farms (>25 ha) account for 11.5 percent of the total farmland. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1998). In most cases, the farmer-owner relationship is still feudal, and landownership is concentrated among a few who are not so much interested in agricultural sustainability and productivity but in controlling the use of their land and consolidating their political power in the rural areas.
Tenancy rates in the countryside range from 50 to 70 percent. Just like other marginal farmers, tenants, whether sharecropping or leasehold, have to contend with a rural élite which not only enjoys a monopoly in land resources, but also single-handedly controls the distribution of technological inputs, rural banking, the renting out of farm machinery as well as the storage, transportation, processing and marketing of farm produce. Taken as a whole, marginal farmers, tenants and farm workers total 10.2 million, 70 percent of whom are landless. The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL or RA 6657) was passed in 1988 to change this situation. With an allotment from the Congress of about P50 billion (US$1.92 billion), the ten-year law has a remaining balance of P4.91 billion (US$0.18 billion) to date. However, distribution of lands to the tillers is below the expected targets and may not be accomplished during the last year of CARP. After a quarter of a century, from 1972 to 1996 the government distributed a cumulative total of 2.56 million ha or 60 percent of the planned allocation of 4.3 million ha.
The government's slowness in land transfer activities is due to its lack of political will to implement agrarian reform, manifest in operational and legal bottlenecks and in blockades by big landowners who have seats in Congress and posts in the government bureaucracy. As a result, massive agricultural land conversions are being carried out under the government's fast-track industrialization program. The legal moves by Congress to stop CARP include: exemptions of big prawn farms, fish ponds and aquaculture areas from CARP coverage; foreign investors' leasing of private lands for up to 75 years; and the proposed 25-year moratorium on CARP implementation in the Mindanao region.
A number of undocumented farmers' testimonies and agrarian cases regarding the plight of the farmers mention harassment and, at times, murder. Those who have been issued land titles were not physically given lands while those who had secured ownership of their farms were not receiving the support and resources that were supposed to enable them to enhance their welfare. Despite the farmers' grave situation, big landowners continue to threaten CARP beneficiaries and explicitly mock the agrarian reform law.
The Philippine agrarian reform program evolved in terms of laws enacted by the government to respond to the land conflict. The following have been the legislations for agrarian reform dates back in the 1930’s.
· Act No. 4054 – “The Rice Tenancy Act”
Enacted to pacify the growing discontent of the peasantry precipitating into active agrarian unrest particularly in Central Luzon (1933)
· Act No. 4113 – “An Act to Prescribe Certain Provisions Concerning Tenancy Contracts on Lands Planted to Sugar Cane (as amended)”
Regulates the tenancy relations in sugarlands (1933)
· Republic Act No. 34 – “An Act Amending Certain Sections of Act No. 4054 As Amended”
Approved to deal with the interpretation of the words “landlord” and “tenant”; the sharing in the second crop and the homelot of the tenant (1946).
· Republic Act No. 1199 – “An Act to Govern the relations Between Landholders and Tenants of Agricultural Lands” or the “Agricultural tenancy Act of the Philippines”
In 1963, President authored Republic Act No. 3844 entitled “Agricultural Land Reform Code”. The said Act established the leasehold system or pursued the abolition of shared-tenancy as a step towards transforming the tenants into amortizing owner-cultivators. It also established the economic family-size farm as the foundation of agriculture.
In 1971, R.A. No. 3844 was further strengthened by R.A. No. 6389 entitled “Code of Agrarian Reform of the Philippines”. Among the salient provisions of this law is the involvement of the local governments in the implementation of the agrarian reform program.
Subsequent governments widened the scope and extent of services offered under the agrarian reform. In 1972, P.D. No. 27, “Tenant Emancipation Decree” was enacted to emancipate the tenants from the bondage of the soil and transfer to them the ownership of the land they till. It applies to tenant-farmers of private agricultural lands devoted to rice and corn under the share-crop or lease tenancy. This was implemented under the Martial Law regime.
In 1988, under President , Congress passed R.A. No. 6657, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL). It covers all agricultural lands and provides support services to agrarian reform beneficiaries. It also mandates the completion of the land distribution component of the program by 1998.
In February 1998, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 8532 as a support measure to R.A. No. 6657. This Act extended CARP for another 10 years and allocated another P50 billion for the program.
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law is the law in effect up to the present time and has been implemented under three administrations:
a) President Corazon C. Aquino : 1998 – 1992
b) President Fidel V. Ramos : 1992 – 1998
c) President Joseph Estrada : 1998 – 2000
The present administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is the fourth administration to implement CARP.
The implementation of the agrarian reform program under the GMA presidency is viewed from the perspective of directly contributing to the administration’s social equity agenda as the foundation for growth and development. Providing the small farmers and farmworkers access to land and the corresponding support systems shall encourage them towards improved productivity and higher incomes. Thus, agrarian reform should directly contribute to poverty reduction and to sustaining peace in the countryside. Equity-led growth that is translated and felt at the family and community level would renew the trust and confidence of the rural populace in the government and subsequently undermine the issue of armed conflict. It should be noted that agrarian reform continues to be a common reform agenda of insurgency groups whether it be the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Undersectary Conrado Navarro stressed that the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is a piece of social legislation that is meant to correct historical inequities and injustice. At the same time, he noted that CARP is not just about land acquisition and redistribution but with provision of support services. The DAR is trying out a number of innovations in agrarian reform implementation:
o Demand-driven as opposed to supply-driven strategy for land distribution
o Preparation of beneficiaries for land acquisition and
o Partnership between the landowner and the farmers,
whereby the latter "contribute" the use of their land to the partnership while the former provides technical expertise and capital investment However, the DAR is constrained by a number of issues bedeviling the agrarian reform program: a) lack of funds, b) continuing resistance of landowners, and the c) tedious process of settling disputes.
(1997) noted in his paper, "The Case for Alternative Development: Of the People, For the People, By the People" that redistributive land reform had not frequently succeeded to attain its goals in many parts of the world. He cited the most important reasons for the failures of land reform:
- strategic deceit of large landowners to outwit reform initiatives,
- weakness or unwillingness of governments to break up large land holdings and distribute them to rural poor,
- inefficiency of state bureaucracies as reflected in the slowness, costliness, and weak enforcement capacities,
- lack of supportive technical assistance, and
- weak managerial capacities of the beneficiaries.
Among the options or alternative solutions to agrarian reform, enumerated the following: a) land tenure reform [reform of land tenure institutions, instruments], b) negotiated land reform [based on the willing buyer-willing seller principle], c) market-led land reform [which assumes that markets are the best regulators of supply and demand], and d) redistributive land reform.
(1997) provided an overview of the current situation of agrarian reform in Asia. He started by analyzing the overall agrarian structure in Asia:
o Countries where collectivization of agriculture has been practiced, with equitable distribution of resources,
o Countries that have undergone agricultural modernization and some levels of agrarian
o Countries where traditional patterns exist with a feudal or semi-feudal character, with lands held by absentee owners or corporations,
He summed the land reform approaches in Asia as follows:
o Land ceilings,
o Policies and regulations on land use,
o Regulations on land sales, inheritance and transfer
o Creation of agrarian settlements,
o Reform of tenancy relations and land lease arrangements
o Creation of land markets (still evolving)
Among the future agenda for agrarian reform in Asia are as follows:
o Addressing access to land and tenure security
o Responding to growing need for creating new opportunities for non-farm rural employment
o Addressing growing issues of resource tenure
o "Internationalizing" issues of land policy and agrarian reform
o Linking tenurial reforms with food security, poverty alleviation and environmental
o Examining and addressing market forces that impact on land markets
o Recognizing customary land rights and customary laws, within the legal state systems
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The researcher will pursue the answer and make an assessment on the main problem of this study “The Implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the Province of Marinduque (1997 – 2001). ”. The specific questions assessed in this study are the following:
1. How effective is the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Marinduque between 1997 and 2001?
2. What are the problems and difficulties encountered in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Marinduque by the following:
b) Tenant, and
c) DAR Personnel?
3. To what extent has the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Marinduque been between 1997 and 2001?
4. How do the following respondents perceive the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in the province of Marinduque:
b) Tenant, and
c) DAR Personnel?
5. Is there a difference in the perception of the following respondents in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in the province of Marinduque:
b) Tenant, and
c) DAR Personnel?
There is no significant difference in the perception of the following respondents in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in the province of Marinduque: Landowner, Tenant and DAR Personnel.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The researcher would like to achieve the following objectives in this study:
1. Know the extent of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in the province of Marinduque between (1997 – 2001);
2. Identify the problems and difficulties encountered in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program; and
3. Assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in the province of Marinduque.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study presents a brief background of the history of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program starting with the Aquino administration up to the Arroyo administration last year. In lieu of all of this, it is imperative and important to evaluate the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program by the people directly involved in the process: the landowners, the tenants and the DAR Personnel. Based on this evaluation, the researcher hopes that the study becomes an eye-opener for the officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Marinduque. This would give them an opportunity to a) identify the problems in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Marinduque, b) identify and implement solutions to the problems and difficulties identified by the respondents, c) gauge the success of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform program as perceived by the landowners, the tenants and the DAR personnel. Armed with this knowledge, it is hoped that all the parties involved in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program: the landowners, the tenants, and the DAR personnel, establish communication links with each other to ensure that there is appropriate feedback whenever problems and difficulties arise. Most importantly, the researcher hopes that the results of the study would spur the DAR in Marinduque to make immediate and necessary actions that would benefit their constituents.
Furthermore, this study could be the basis for further studies on agrarian reform and its implementation in the Philippines. There are many other aspects of about the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program which could be studied, and this study could give researchers an overview of the condition of the region in the last five years (1997-2001).
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This is a study of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in the province of Marinduque between 1997 – 2001.
The selected respondents were purposively picked from among the landowners, the tenants and the DAR personnel in Marinduque. Each respondent had to have a minimum age of 18 years old and above, and was chosen regardless of gender, educational background and social status.
The study considers the performance of the Department of Agrarian Reform in its implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program for the last five (5) years (1997 – 2001).
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Agrarian Reform means the redistribution of lands, regardless of crops or fruits produced, to farmers and regular farm workers who are landless, irrespective of tenurial arrangement, to include the totality of factors and support services designed to lift the economic status of the beneficiaries and all other arrangements alternative to the physical redistribution of lands, such as production or profit-sharing, labor administration, and the distribution of shares of stock which will allow beneficiaries to receive a just share of the fruits of the lands they work.
Agriculture, Agricultural Enterprise or Agricultural Activity means the cultivation of the soil, planting of crops, growing of fruit trees, including the harvesting of such farm products, and other farm activities and practices performed by a farmer in conjunction with such farming operations done by persons whether natural of juridical.
Agricultural Land refers to land devoted to agricultural activity as defined in this Act and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial land.
Agrarian Dispute refers to any controversy relating to tenurial arrangements, whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship or otherwise, over lands devoted to agriculture, including disputes concerning farm workers' associations or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of such tenurial arrangements. It includes any controversy relating to compensation of lands acquired under this Act and other terms and conditions of transfer of ownership from landowners to farm workers, tenants and other agrarian reform beneficiaries, whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of farm operator and beneficiary, landowner and tenant, or lessor and lessee.
Cooperatives refer to organizations composed primarily of small agricultural producers, farmers, farm workers, or other agrarian reform beneficiaries who voluntarily organize themselves for the purpose of pooling land, human, technological, financial or other economic resources, and operated on the principle of one member, one vote. A juridical person may be a member of a cooperative, with the same rights and duties as a natural person.
Farmer refers to a natural person whose primary livelihood is cultivation of land or the production of agricultural crops either by himself, or primarily with the assistance of his immediate farm household, whether the land is owned by him, or by another person under a leasehold or share tenancy agreement or arrangement with the owner thereof.
Farmworker is a natural person who renders service for value as an employee or laborer in an agricultural enterprise or farm regardless of whether his compensation is paid on a daily, weekly, monthly or "pakyaw" basis. The term includes an individual whose work has ceased as a consequence of, or in connection with, a pending agrarian dispute who has not obtained a substantially equivalent and regular farm employment.
Idle or Abandoned Land refers to any agricultural land not cultivated, tilled or developed to produce any crop nor devoted to any specific economic purpose continuously for a period of three (3) years immediately prior to the receipt of notice of acquisition by the government as provided under this Act, but does not include land that has become permanently or regularly devoted to non-agricultural purposes. It does not include land which has become unproductive by reason of force majeure or any other fortuitous event: provided, that prior to such event, such land was previously used for agricultural or other economic purposes.
Implementation means to put into practical effect the measures in the CARP.
Landowner refers to the owners of the land being distributed by the DAR.
Land tenure refers to the right to hold property as part of an ancient hierarchical system of holding lands.
Reforms are the actions undertaken by the DAR to improve social or economic conditions in Marinduque through the CARP.
Regular Farmworker is a natural person who is employed on a permanent basis by an agricultural enterprise or farm.
Seasonal Farmworker is a natural person who is employed on a recurrent, periodic or intermittent basis by an agricultural enterprise or farm, whether as a permanent or a non-permanent laborer, such as "dumaan", "sacada", and the like.
Support Services refers to the activities undertaken by the DAR to help the landowners and tenants adjust to the effects of the CARP.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter consists of information culled from studies and literature, both local and foreign, from which this particular study is premised.
To have a better understanding of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), it is important to discuss the it in relation to the social situation of the people.
Poverty in the Philippines remains rural in character with 54% of the country’s poor residing in the rural areas. In 1994, there were some 47 million impoverished rural families, more than half of which were absolutely poor. There are still an estimated 2.3 million landless farmers and farmworkers. Agrarian reform is an unfinished historic mandate that has been with us for more than four decades. The country’s long experience with agrarian reform bears out its validity as a social agenda and the urgency of resolving the land question. ( 2000)
In a paper by the University (NCPAG) titled "Future Scenarios for Governance, Democracy and Development, 1998-2025," the study says: "The landlords are not powerful enough to prevent or stop land reform, but they are powerful enough to water down its implementation and obtain compensation so high that land reform cannot be implemented without unduly straining government finances. This stalemate will reduce the amount of investment in agriculture."
It is hard to understand this obsession with targeting irrigated prime agricultural lands and CARP areas for conversion for housing development. After all, there are only 1.3 million hectares of irrigated land. Most estimates of prime agricultural land, including those not yet irrigated, put this at around 3 to 4 million hectares. In addition, there are only around 4 million hectares of private agricultural lands under the DAR’s scope for CARP (the other half being public lands identified as alienable and disposable, and those covered by the Integrated Social Forestry Program). Thus there are about 7–8 million hectares of lands that should be protected from land use conversion in the interest of national food security, and social justice and agrarian reform.
The Philippines has a total land area of 30 million hectares; 14.1 million of this has been classified as alienable and disposable. There are therefore at least 6–7 million hectares that can be made available for housing and other non-agricultural uses, without sacrificing food security and agrarian reform.
The Certificate Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) may be the next best proof of ownership of an actual land title for most landless farmers. A total of 111 CARP beneficiaries in Barangay Barobo, Valencia, Bukidnon received their CLOAs but not without military death threats and legal delays. For example, one farmland in question is a 147.95 ha. sugar estate owned by the Carpo-Rufino Agricultural Corporation (CARRUF). There are claims that one member of Carpo is the treasurer of the administration party, Lakas-NUCD, while a member of Rufino owns a large percentage of a major daily newspaper. CARRUF, whose owners are reportedly friends of the former Philippine President , was sequestrated by the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on 19 April 1986. Subsequently, the estate was subjected to CARP.
There are different organizations that help in facilitating the agrarian reform implementation. One of these organizations is the KAISAHAN. It is a social development organization promoting a sustainable and humane society through the empowerment of marginalized groups in rural areas. It has units involved in legal affairs, education and information, area specific development assistance, and policy research and advocacy. Also, PARFUND is a six-year old private funding mechanism that provides financial support for agrarian reform in the Philippines. It works for the speedy, creative and effective transformation of agrarian areas into viable communities, thereby contributing to the sustainable development of the Philippines. From Jan.1996 - Jun. 99, PARFUND through its block grant fund provided PhP27.2 million for 157 projects of 105 NGOs and POs in all 12 regions of the country. The primary objective of these projects was to help accelerate and effectively implement two landmark legislations, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act. PARFUND’s strategy has been to provide support to committed and competent NGOs and POs working at the community and/or policy levels. While the bulk of the fund (70%) went into direct community support, PARFUND also funded 22 public education projects of NGOs and POs that put the issue of agrarian reform in the national limelight. Among the more prominent advocacy projects included those that focused on land conversion and the augmentation of the agrarian reform budget.
issue in agrarian reform pertains to legislation pertinent to land use. An
example of this is the Omnibus Housing and Urban Development Act (OHUDA).
The People’s Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network has analyzed that the proposed Omnibus Housing and Urban Development Act shows that major provisions of the said bill, particularly Section 33 (which provides for the policy on “designation and use of lands for housing and urban development purposes”), if enacted, will have serious and detrimental impact on the welfare of farmers and on the food security of the nation. First, Section 33 of the said bill threatens the food security of the nation as it virtually allows the conversion of most of the agricultural lands to residential and other urban uses. It even allows the conversion of irrigated and irrigable lands. Second, it provides major loopholes for landowners to evade CARP coverage. Aside from facilitating the conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses (converted lands automatically are exempted from CARP coverage), Section 33 also prohibits the issuance of any “Notice of Coverage under CARP, Notice of Valuation or any similar instruments of the DAR” over lands designated for housing and urban development and lands zoned prior or after effectivity of R.A. No. 6657 for residential, commercial, industrial or other urban development purposes. Any such notice that may have been already issued would be deemed lifted within 30 days from effectivity of the proposed Act. (AR Now!, Kaisihan.org)
Section 23 of the Housing Bill:Anti-Farmer, Anti-Agrarian Reform, Anti-Food Security, Unconstitutional and an Insult to the Peasantry by the People's Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network states that, the People’s Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network (AR Now!), a national campaign center for agrarian reform and rural development consisting of fourteen (14) peasant organizations and non-government organizations, puts forward its strongest opposition to Section 33 of House Bill No. 4517 or the proposed Omnibus Housing and Urban Development Act (OHUDA) and demands its deletion from the proposed legislation. To pass the Omnibus Housing and Urban Development Act with Section 33 will send a clear message to the peasantry that the government (both executive and legislative) has totally abandoned its Constitutional mandate for agrarian reform and rural development.
Aside from opening up almost all agricultural lands to land use conversion (which may further contribute to the shortage of lands required for attaining production levels that will allow us to attain food security/self-sufficiency), as stated above, Section 33 (Section 33 [f] in particular) also emphasizes that not even "irrigated or irrigable" lands, known as the prime agricultural lands will be preserved or protected from land use conversion. This runs counter to the intent of existing laws and policies on land use which, relatively, have "respected" and protected irrigated and irrigable lands, declaring them as "non-negotiable" for land use conversion. This policy of protecting, at the least, irrigated and irrigable lands has been primarily due to the general recognition of the important role that irrigation plays in agricultural productivity and, also, on the high cost of putting up irrigation facilities. This is also because of the fact that the Philippines has very limited agricultural lands with existing irrigation facilities. Of the 9.7 million hectares or 10.3 million hectares being "actually" used for agriculture, only 3.1 million hectares are irrigable or have the potential of being irrigated. Moreover, of the 3.1 million hectares of irrigable lands, only 1.3 million hectares are irrigated. Given that the Philippines has remained a primarily agricultural country, with the failed industrialization attempts of past governments and the unlikely possibility of it being achieved in the near future, emphasis on agrarian reform and rural development should be maintained and even intensified. (Kaisahan.org)
In a press release by the PAMBANSANG KILUSAN NG MGA SAMAHANG MAGSASAKA (PAKISAMA) last March 2002, it opposes the housing bill stating, “The enactment of the proposed Omnibus Housing and Urban Development Act is anti-farmer, anti-food security and will clearly undermine the implementation of agrarian reform in the country, “ declares Ka Aning Loza, President of the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), a 20,000-strong national peasant federation. The proposed Bill, which is due for deliberations in the House of Representatives, authorizes local government units to designate all lands in cities and almost all lands, including prime agricultural lands, in 1st to 4th class municipalities to housing and urban development purposes. (AR, NOW!, Kaisahan.org)
However, with People Power II being fueled by dissatisfaction with the abuses and failures of the Estrada Administration, it was only appropriate that members of civil society, who played key roles in People Power II, would have higher expectations with the current administration in terms of performance and framework. The new administration has been expected to deliver more in the areas of poverty alleviation, asset reform, people empowerment and economic growth. However, after a year in power, the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, to say the least, has been a big disappointment in the areas of agrarian reform and rural development.
No major (pro-poor/peasant) policies or program accomplishments can be cited in the areas of agrarian reform and rural/agricultural development. In the area of agrarian reform, the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform program (CARP) almost stood still in 2001. According to a status report on SONA commitments posted at the government's website (), as of 20 December 2001, DAR has distributed only a total of 47,626 hectares of private agricultural lands out of the 100,000-hectare target that it has set for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR; it also targeted another 100,000 hectares for public lands under the jurisdiction of the DENR). The 100,000-hectare target for DAR sets up the Macapagal-Arroyo Administration to beat the record of the Estrada Administration for having the lowest annual average output of 133,355 hectares. Also the annual target set by the Macapagal-Arroyo Administration places the target of completing the program by 2008 in jeopardy. As of end of December 2001, the DAR still had a remaining balance of some 1.19 million hectares, which meant that it had to target at least 150,000 hectares per year. ()
Of the post-EDSA presidents, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may be considered to have made the most "concrete" commitment to agrarian reform-she had her husband's lands in Negros Occidental covered under the voluntary offer to sell (VOS) scheme of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). However, the GMA administration will have to be judged in terms of actual land distribution/installation, support services delivery and agrarian justice delivery (which would still be too early to determine). Thus, her act of "sacrifice" shall remain a "symbolic" gesture until her administration truly delivers in terms of program accomplishments. ( July 2001 )
As stated by KAISAHAN (2000), agrarian reform failures are as follows:
1. Present efforts at agrarian reform has failed because government still believes that it is economically costly and does not want to disturb the status quo. In many cases, government has not paid enough attention to providing areas subject to agrarian reform with the necessary infrastructures and social services, setting up an efficient organization for technical assistance, to ensuring equitable access to credit at sustainable cost, and fixing land prices and forms of payment that are incompatible with what is needed for its development and meeting the living requirements of poor farmers’ families.
2. The lack of a progressive taxation policy on agricultural land, especially idle lands, has encouraged landowners to hold on to their lands and increases the speculative value of the land while productivity decreases. All this has encouraged a process of accumulation of land based on investment in land (landbanking activities of developers, for one), with small farmers who are often in the sidelines of the land market, being excluded in the process.
3. Paradigm shift in which agrarian policies have been managed to promote the export of agricultural production, which often encouraged the process of concentration of land in the hands of a few. Agricultural exports come mainly from plantation-size or large-scale landholding system, to the detriment of the growth of autonomous family-size farm units devoted primarily for food production.
4. Price control policies have been adopted for certain products, favoring large agro-industrial concerns and export growers, but penalizing small growers producing traditional farm products. If the market prompts small farmers to grow export crops, this often takes place at the expense of production intended mainly for their own consumption, thus putting farming families at considerable risk. Unfavorable climatic or market conditions can lead to a vicious cycle of hunger, so that they contract huge debts that will eventually for them to give up ownership of their lands.
5. Lack of political will to implement redistributive agrarian reform is being reflected in legislative deficiencies and delays in recognizing ownership rights over private and state lands to actual tillers, small budget allocations, etc. Likewise, massive land conversion of prime agricultural lands, even if prohibited by laws, continue unabated thereby endangering the country’s food security.
6. The low priority for agriculture reflected in budgetary allocations means that under globalization and trade liberalization, the government is willing to sacrifice small farmers and producers. The new track will focus on big farms, non-traditional cash crop exports, and non-food production.
7. As noted, "the apparent distrust of the Estrada government in the capability of farmers to manage their own lands and its continued reliance on the expertise of landlords will be a big stumbling block to the success of agrarian reform." The Estrada government’s coddling of the sugar industry, an economically inefficient sector, is also sealing the fate of what could have been a competitive farming scheme under the control of small landholders.
The Philippines is characterized by the coexistence of small peasant farms and large plantations. While only 3.4 per cent of all farms are larger than 10 hectares, these cover as much as a third of the total agricultural land area. On the other hand, almost two-thirds of all farms are less than three hectares in size and cover only 30 per cent of the total cultivable area. The pattern looks even more disproportional when land distribution by type of crop planted is considered. This is due to the fact that huge corporate plantations are involved in the production of these commodities. Over half of all farms (59%) are owner operated. However, share tenancy continues to be prevalent, especially in rice and corn farms, in spite of past reform measures. Owner operated farms make up 61% of the total farm area, while 20% is characterized by share tenancy arrangements.
Based on the Asian NGO Coalition: A Review of Land Reforms in Asia, overall issues cited: Conflicting macro-economic policies and priorities that conflict with objectives of land/asset reform; use and exploitation of public concessions, policy on foreign ownership of land, neglect and development bias against agriculture; lack of political will: lack of legal framework for pursuing reforms, resistance by political and economic interest groups, non-implementation of existing laws; lack of transparency and participation; governance; land speculation and market forces; conflicts of existing policies and priorities with customary laws, rights, access and use.
The Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform Bulletin (No. 9, April, 2002), informs of the activities that organizations carried out in the frame of April 17th "International Peasant struggle day" and the participation in the Global Campaigns International Seminar "The negative impact of the World Bank agrarian reform market policy", the results of the Global Campaigns Research Mission in Honduras, as well as a report of the different solidarity activities with different peasant movements in their fair struggle for the access to land and other ways of production, as well as the foreseen activities to be developed by the campaign during the next two months.
In the frame of this International Mission a Press Communicate was made in which they recommend: The International Mission considers that the State of Honduras must make the access to land and other productive resources easier for rural families without land, in the frame of a wide program for agrarian reform and rural development, implementing in this way, its obligation to fulfill international rights, especially the right to feed: that the Honduran Government strengthen its institutions regarding agrarian reform and particularly the INA (National Agrarian Institute), at the same time we request the same INA the necessary reforms for obtaining efficiency with agrarian conflicts and the access to land; to review the current legislation especially the law for Agricultural Modernization, in order to facilitate and push forward agrarian reform and guarantee greater security for Agrarian Reform Cooperatives; establish a land registry program that will guarantee a transparent frame for land ownership in the Honduran Agro; that the Supreme Court of Justice take the correct measures for future judges to consider the validity of Economic, Social and Cultural Human Rights (DESC), established in the International Pact by the DESC, of which Honduras forms part. We also request that they should not order the displacement of peasant groups without going through every administrative procedure with the National Agrarian Institute; that the Supreme Court of Justice carry out an exhaustive investigation of the processes that have led to forceful displacements, as well as reviewing the participation of judges and legal representatives that have been responsible for Human Rights violations; that the State of the Honduras guarantee the indemnification for damages and troubles caused to the communities that have suffered from forceful displacements; that the families of victims of repression and murder should be indemnified, particularly the case of the Associative Company Primero de Octubre, Liz Liz, Balfate, Colon. The agrarian reform was a prerequisite to freeing the peasants from feudal exploitation, rapidly developing agricultural productive forces and achieving prosperity of national industries and the national economy as a whole. The agrarian reform was urgently required to do away with the economic foundation of the reactionary forces, including landlords in rural villages and powerfully rouse the peasants, the driving force of the revolution, to the building of new Korea. That was why the President Kim Il Sung put forward the slogan "land to the tillers " and a unique policy of agrarian reform.
The policy was aimed at enforcing the agrarian reform on the principle of confiscation without compensation and distribution without charge and confiscating the land of the Japanese , pro-Japanese elements and traitors to the nation, the land of landlords who had more than five hectares of fields and the land rented out to others. The WPK worked hard for the successful agrarian reform, true to the class policy of relying on the poor and hired peasants, isolating the rich peasants by allying with the middle peasants and liquidating the landlords.
In the countries of the Third World, with rare exceptions, it cannot be said that there were true agrarian reforms that helped peasants to get out of poverty. Even though it is there that the majority of poor peasants live, and where the weight of rural population is the most significant. In some countries they even represent the majority. The absence of agrarian reforms is basically due to two factors: a) The existence of a dependent, colonial capitalist model that developed the large properties with the exportation of primary products. b) The political power of rural oligarchies, large landowners, united with the local and foreign bourgeoisie.
In all the countries of the Third World where agrarian reform has not been implemented, grave agrarian problems persist, manifested in the continuing existence of large landed properties, the high concentration of land in the hands of a minority, and the use of the land only for exploitation and profit. Arable land has been bought in order to construct second houses for leisure, for the weekend. These problems are the cause of the high levels of poverty, the enormous social inequality, the worst conditions of life for the rural population, the chronic and economically dependent underdevelopment, and the general lack of perspectives for workers in general.
Agrarian reform has to start with a broad process of distribution of land ownership. In addition, considering the extent of development of capitalism and the exploitation of local economies, it needs to be undertaken in conjunction with changes in the economic, social, and political model. Ownership of land has to be submitted to the criteria that only those that work the land, depend on it and live there with their families, have the right to land. Land is a good of nature that needs to be used for the welfare of all. Land is not, and cannot, be a marketable good that can be obtained in whatever quantity by those that have the financial means. We defend the principle of the maximum size of the social ownership of the land per family in relation to the reality in each country. Access to the land by peasants has to be understood as a guarantee for survival and the valorisation of their culture, the autonomy of their communities and a new vision on the preservation of natural resources for humanity and future generations. The land is patrimonium of the family and land titles only in the name of men have to be avoided. The struggle for the implementation of land reform cannot be cloaked as a peasants’ exclusive need or banner, but as a social solution for the whole of society’s problems. From this perspective, it would become viable if it were inserted as a claim, a struggle platform for wide popular sectors in our countries. The peasants alone, will not conquer land reform and rural changes. They have to create new forms of organization, associations and co-operatives, of peasants and of people living in rural areas around the management of the economy, of production, of financial systems, and of rural development, in agreement with the cultural and organisational traditions of our peoples and based on the principals of mutual support and agricultural co-operation. Agricultural co-operation in work and the social accumulation of capital is a natural process of the development of productive forces. But peasants have to adjust it and be creative on the different forms adjusting them, adequate to the reality of each region. And put its benefits to serve the improvement of the living conditions of the workers in the rural areas. In this moment in the history of humanity, where international financial capital wideness its domination and exploitation by the means of an excluding globalisation, it is essential that the peoples of the 3rd World, the workers in general, and specially the peasants articulated in Via Campesina get organized and also developing ways of communication, exchange and international struggles to face the common enemy.
SUMMARY OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6657
Chapter 1: Preliminary Chapter. Section 2.
It is the policy of the State to pursue a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The welfare of the landless farmers and farm workers will receive the highest consideration to promote social justice and to move the nation towards sound rural development and industrialization, and the establishment of owner cultivatorship of economic-sized farms as the basis of Philippine agriculture. To this end, a more equitable distribution and ownership of land, with due regard to the rights of landowners to just compensation and to the ecological needs of the nation, shall be undertaken to provide farmers and farm workers with the opportunity to enhance their dignity and improve the quality of their lives through greater productivity of agricultural lands. The agrarian reform program is founded on the right of farmers and regular farm workers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farm workers, to receive a share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to the priorities and retention limits set forth in this Act, having taken into account ecological, developmental, and equity considerations, and subject to the payment of just compensation. The State shall respect the right of small landowners and shall provide incentives for voluntary land-sharing. The State shall recognize the right of farmers, farm workers and landowners, as well as cooperatives and other independent farmers' organization, to participate in the planning, organization, and management of the program, and shall provide support to agriculture through appropriate technology and research, and adequate financial, production, marketing and other support services. The State shall apply the principles of agrarian reform or stewardship, whenever applicable, in accordance with law, in the disposition or utilization of other natural resources, including lands of the public domain, under lease or concession, suitable to agriculture, subject to prior rights, homestead rights of small settlers and the rights of indigenous communities to their ancestral lands. The State may resettle landless farmers and farm workers in its own agricultural estates, which shall be distributed to them in the manner provided by law. By means of appropriate incentives, the State shall encourage the formation and maintenance of economic-sized family farms to be constituted by individual beneficiaries and small landowners. The State shall protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local communities, to the preferential use of communal marine and fishing resources, both inland and offshore. It shall provide support to such fishermen through appropriate technology and research, adequate financial, production and marketing assistance and other services. The State shall also protect, develop and conserve such resources. The protection shall extend to offshore fishing grounds of subsistence fishermen against foreign intrusion. Fishworkers shall receive a just share from their labor in the utilization of marine and fishing resources. The State shall be guided by the principles that land has a social function and land ownership has a social responsibility. Owners of agricultural land have the obligation to cultivate directly or through labor administration the lands they own and thereby make the land productive. The State shall provide incentives to landowners to invest the proceeds of the agrarian reform program to promote industrialization, employment and privatization of public sector enterprises. Financial instruments used as payment for lands shall contain features that shall enhance negotiability and acceptability in the marketplace. The State may lease undeveloped lands of the public domain to qualified entities for the development of capital-intensive farms, traditional and pioneering crops especially those for exports subject to the prior rights of the beneficiaries under this Act.
Chapter 2: Coverage: Section 4.
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 shall cover, regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, all public and private agricultural lands as provided in Proclamation No. 131 and Executive Order No. 229, including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture. More specifically, the following lands are covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program:
(a) All alienable and disposable lands of the public domain devoted to or suitable for agriculture. No reclassification of forest or mineral lands to agricultural lands shall be undertaken after the approval of this Act until Congress, taking into account ecological, developmental and equity considerations, shall have determined by law, the specific limits of the public domain;
b) All lands of the public domain in excess to the specific limits as determined by Congress in the preceding paragraph;
c) All other lands owned by the Government devoted to or suitable for agriculture;
d) All private lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture regardless of the agricultural products raised or that can be raised thereon.
Chapter 2: Coverage. Section. 7.
The DAR, in coordination with the PARC shall plan and program the acquisition and distribution of all agricultural lands through a period of ten (10) years from the effectivity of this Act. Lands shall be acquired and distributed as follows:
Phase One: Rice and corn lands under Presidential Decree No. 27; all idle or abandoned lands; all private lands voluntarily offered by the owners for agrarian reform; all lands foreclosed by government financial institution; all lands acquired by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG); and all other lands owned by the government devoted to or suitable for agriculture, which shall be acquired and distributed immediately upon the effectivity of this Act, with the implementation to be completed within a period of not more than four (4) years;
Phase two: All alienable and disposable public agricultural lands; all arable public agricultural lands under agro-forest, pasture and agricultural leases already cultivated and planted to crops in accordance with Section 6, Article XIII of the Constitution; all public agricultural lands which are to be opened for new development and resettlement; and all private agricultural lands in excess of fifty (50) hectares, insofar as the excess hectarage is concerned, to implement principally the right of farmers and regular farm workers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till, which shall be distributed immediately upon the effectivity of this Act, with the implementation to be completed within a period of not more than four (4) years.
Phase Three: All other private agricultural lands commencing with large landholdings and proceeding to medium and small landholdings under the following schedule:
a) Landholdings above twenty-four (24) hectares up to fifty (50) hectares, to begin on the fourth (4th) year from the effectivity of this Act and to be completed within three (3) years; and
b) Landholdings from the retention limit up to twenty-four (24) hectares, to begin on the sixth (6th) year from the effectivity of this Act and to be completed within four (4) years; to implement principally the right of farmers and regular farmworkers who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till.
Chapter 7: Land Redistribution. Section 22.
The lands covered by the CARP shall be distributed as much as possible to landless residents of the same barangay, or in the absence thereof, landless residents of the same municipality in the following order of priority:
agricultural lessees and share tenants;
(b) regular farm workers;
(c) seasonal farm workers;
(d) other farm workers;
(e) actual tillers or occupants of public lands;
(f) collective or cooperatives of the above beneficiaries; and
(g) others directly working on the land.
Chapter 9: Support Services.
There is hereby created the Office of Support Services under the DAR to be headed by an Undersecretary. The office shall provide general support and coordinative services in the implementation of the program, particularly in carrying out the provisions of the following services to farmer beneficiaries and affected landowners:
(1) Irrigation facilities, especially second crop or dry season irrigation facilities;
(2) Infrastructure development and public works projects in areas and settlement that come under agrarian reform, and for this purpose, the preparation of the physical development plan of such settlements providing suitable barangay sites, potable water and power resources, irrigation systems, seeds and seedling banks, post harvest facilities, and other facilities for a sound agricultural development plan. For the purpose of providing the aforecited infrastructure and facilities, the DAR is authorized to enter into contracts with interested private parties on long term basis or through joint venture agreements or build-operate-transfer scheme:
(3) Government subsidies for the use of irrigation facilities
(4) Price support and guarantee for all agricultural produce;
(5) Extending to small landowners, farmers and farmers' organizations the necessary credit, like concessional and collateral-free loans, for agro-industrialization based on social collaterals like the guarantees of farmers' organizations;
(6) Promoting, developing and extending financial assistance to small and medium-scale industries in agrarian reform areas;
(7) Assigning sufficient numbers of agricultural extension workers to farmers' organization;
(8) Undertake research, development and dissemination of information on agrarian reform, plants and crops best suited for cultivation and marketing, and low cost and ecologically sound farm inputs and technologies to minimize reliance on expensive and imported agricultural inputs;
(9) Development of cooperative management skills through intensive training;chan robles virtual law library
(9) Assistance in the identification of ready markets for agricultural produce and training in the other various aspects of marketing;
(10) Conduct and effective information dissemination system through the Department of Agriculture to promote marketing and minimize spoilage of agricultural produce and products;
(11) Create a credit guarantee fund for agricultural landowners that will enhance the collateral value of agricultural lands that are affected or will be affected by coverage under the agrarian reform program; and
(12) Administration, operation, management and funding of support services programs and projects including pilot projects and models related to agrarian reform as developed by the DAR. (Sec. 35)
In order to cover the expenses and cost of support, at least twenty-five percent (25%) of all appropriations for agrarian reform shall immediately be set aside and made available for this purpose: Provided, That for the next five (5) years, a minimum of one (1) Agrarian Reform Community (ARC) shall be established by the DAR, in coordination with the local government units, non-governmental organizations and people's organizations in each legislative district with a predominant agricultural population: Provided, further, That the areas in which the ARCs are to be established shall have been fully subjected under this law. For this purpose, an Agrarian Reform Community shall be defined as a barangay or a cluster of barangays primarily composed and managed by Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries who shall be willing to be organized and undertake the integrated development of an area and/or their organizations/cooperatives. In each community, the DAR, together with the agencies and organizations above mentioned, shall identify the farmers' association, cooperative or their respective federations approved by the farmers-beneficiaries that shall take the lead in the agricultural development of the area. In addition, the DAR shall be authorized to package proposals and receive grants, aids and other forms of financial assistance from any source. (Sec. 36)
SEC. 37. Support Services to the Beneficiaries. - The PARC shall ensure that support services to farmer-beneficiaries are provided, such as:
Land surveys and titling;
(b) Liberalized terms of credit facilities and production loans;
(c) Extension services by way of planting, cropping, production and post-harvest technology transfer as well as marketing and management assistance and support to cooperatives and farmer organization;
(d) Infrastructure such as access trails, mini-dams, public utilities, marketing and storage facilities; and
(e) Research, production and use of organic fertilizers and other local substances necessary to farming and cultivation.
The PARC shall formulate policies to ensure that support services to farmer-beneficiaries shall be provided at all stages of land reform. The Bagong Kilusang Kabuhayan sa Kaunlaran (BKKK) Secretariat shall be transferred and attached to the LBP, for its supervision, including all its applicable and existing funds, personnel, properties, equipment and records. Misuse or diversion of the financial and support services herein provided shall result in sanction against the beneficiary guilty thereof, including the forfeiture of the land transferred to him or lesser sanctions as may be provided by the PARC, without prejudice to criminal prosecution.
The PARC, with the assistance of such other government agencies and instrumentalities as it may direct, shall provide landowners affected by the CARP and proper agrarian reform programs with the following services:
(a) Investment information, financial and counseling assistance;
(b) Facilities, programs and schemes for the conversion or exchange of bonds issued for payment of the lands acquired with stocks and bonds issued by the National Government, the central bank and other government institutions and instrumentalities;
(c) Marketing of LBP bonds, as well as promoting the marketability of said bonds in traditional and non-traditional financial markets and stock exchanges;
(d) Other services designed to utilize productively the proceeds of the sale of such lands for rural industrialization.
A landowner who invests in rural-based industries shall be entitled to the incentives granted to a registered enterprise engaged in a pioneer or preferred area of investment as provided for in the Omnibus Investment Code of 1987, or to such other incentives as the PARC, the LBP, or other government financial institutions may provide.
The LBP shall redeem a landowner's LBP bonds at face value: Provided, that the proceeds thereof shall be invested in a BOI- registered company or in any agri-business or agro-industrial enterprise in the region where the landowner has previously made investments, to the extent of thirty percent (30%) of the face value of said LBP bonds, subject to guidelines that shall be issued by the LBP. (Section 38)
The DAR shall carry out land consolidation projects to promote equal distribution of landholdings, to provide the needed infrastructure in agriculture, and to conserve soil fertility and prevent erosion. (Sec. 39)
This study will be undertaken to determine if the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Marinduque has been a success based from the perception of the following group of respondents: the landowners, the tenants and the DAR personnel. From the above summary of several literature, studies, and the summary of pertinent points in the CARP law; the researcher was able to conceptualize a framework focusing primarily on how the DAR is handling the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Marinduque for the period covering 1997 to 2001, and come up with sound recommendations to improve the CARP implementation in the coming years.