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Benefiting under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program

(First of two parts)

“…[A]s a country advances to economic development, agriculture contributes proportionally less to national output relative to the other sectors in the economy. As the manufacturing, services, and industry sectors become more vibrant in creating more jobs and providing higher incomes, agriculture has less to offer.”

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In their joint study entitled, “Higher Education in Agriculture: Trends, Prospects, and Policy Directions,” the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said this circumstance may have led to students’ declining interest in agriculture and inconsistency of skills with the availability of jobs in this sector.

Meanwhile, in its study on enrollment of women in higher agricultural education, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations said, “Higher agricultural education… attracts fewer students than other fields of study, probably due to perceptions of agriculture as a less prestigious and profitable profession… These attitudes are most prevalent in rural areas where farming has been the mainstay of the population and where much of the population still lives in poverty.”

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Thus, to encourage the youth to pursue a career in this field, and economically empower its graduates, the Department of Agricultural Reform (DAR) issued its Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 3, Series of 2020.

Under this issuance, persons who have completed the requirements to acquire a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, agriculture engineering, forestry, forest engineering or related fields as certified by the Registrar of the said educational institution may be awarded agricultural lands from unused government-owned lands acquired by DAR, pursuant to the Comprehensive Agricultural Reform Program (CARP).

Meanwhile, awardees of public lands in accordance with A.O. No. 3, Series of 1997, are no longer qualified to avail themselves of this benefit.

Besides his degree, one qualifies as an agrarian reform beneficiary under the CARP if he: (a) was landless; (b) was a resident of the municipality where the landholding is located; (c) had the willingness, aptitude and ability to cultivate and make the land productive; (d) had no pending application before the DAR as an agrarian reform beneficiary; and (e) neither had no pending application nor was a beneficiary under DAR A.O. No. 3, Series of 1997.

Unused government-owned lands that may be awarded under the recent DAR issuance refer to those unoccupied by any person, whether natural or juridical, undertaking any agricultural activities, which include: (a) soil cultivation; (b) planting of crops and harvesting of the resulting farm products; (c) growing of fruit trees; (d) raising of livestock, poultry or fish; and (e) other related farm activities and practices.

Moreover, qualified individuals may be awarded as recipients of agricultural lands acquired from private agricultural lands, either as original awardees or re-allocatees, conditioned on their compliance with relevant agrarian reform laws.

In any case, the lands to be awarded shall not exceed three hectares and shall be located at the area where the potential beneficiary is residing.

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Upon being awarded these lands, the beneficiary shall undertake to perform his duties under DAR’s pertinent rules and regulations, as well as the CARP Law, as amended, and other agrarian reform laws, which primarily consist of cultivating and making these lands productive.

Meanwhile, he shall enjoy the benefits under the CARP, which mainly consist of receiving the title to the awarded land and receiving support services under A.O. No. 3, Series of 2020, and agrarian reform laws.

This beneficiary shall comply with these duties and be entitled to the benefits from the moment he receives his Certificate of Land Ownership Award, and is installed on the awarded land.

An applicant or awardee under this issuance may be disqualified from partaking in the CARP if after due notice and hearing, he is found to have committed: (a) fraud or misrepresentation in the application for the award or during the enjoyment thereof; (b) any act or omission which violates the CARP Law or any agrarian reform law; or (c) any act or omission which violates any of DAR’s rules and regulations.

(To be continued)

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TAGS: Agriculture, Business, column, Comprehensive Agricultural Reform Program (CARP), Department of Agricultural Reform (DAR), property, Property Rules
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