Local News: TFM Foreseers, DAR Can’t Meet Negros Distribution Target; Aquino Administration Record Dismal - TFM
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will have to work 20 times its current pace if it wants to distribute 32,000 hectares of land in Negros Occidental this year.
This assessment was made by Task Force Mapalad (TFM) yesterday in reaction to the promise of DAR Region VI Director Elmo Bañares that the target is attainable.
Bañares claimed that since the 32,000-hectare target was far lower than the original 58,000-hectare goal this year, then it becomes "realistic".
However, statistics do not favor Bañares, TFM stressed.
From July 2010 to December 2010, the DAR in Negros Occidental only managed to distribute 1,318 hectares, but the LAD component suffered a big blow under the Aquino administration since only 479 hectares were distributed from January 2011 to June 2011.
Thus, the records show that under the Aquino government, only 1,798 hectares were distributed.
The figure for the current administration pales in comparison to the accomplishment of the Arroyo government, which managed to distribute 62,679 hectares from January 2001 until it bowed out of power in 2010.
This annual performance under LAD certainly does not augur well for Bañares, who has promised to meet the 2012 target by outsourcing personnel and bringing in additional staff to do the surveys, interviews, finalize the valuation with the Land Bank of the Philippines (Land Bank) and complete the paperwork in six months and issue the Certificate of Landownership Awards (CLOAs) to landless peasants.
TFM Negros president Alberto Jaime stressed that while DAR has computerized the system for the distribution of land in Hacienda Luisita and thus speed up the work, the department has been working at a snail’s pace in Negros Occidental, a hotbed of agrarian unrest.
Out of the 299,990 hectares of land covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and its successor law, CARP Extension with Reforms (CARPER), only 164,478 hectares have been distributed in Negros Occidental for an accomplishment rate of 55 percent since 1989.
Overall, however, Negros Occidental has the biggest area still to be distributed, an indication of the strong resistance from landowners and the failure of the DAR to achieve its mandate.
The balance is 135,512 hectares and this total area should be distributed between 2012 and 2014, when CARPER ends.
TFM rues this development, noting that DAR has the funds needed to break up large estates and distribute land covered by schemes similar to voluntary offer to sell (VOS) and voluntary land transfer (VLT).
The reasons advanced by Bañares as to why the LAD in Negros Occidental lagged behind have been there since 1989— remote barangays, lack of personnel, absence of technical descriptions of areas covered by CARP and CARPER.
"Parang sirang plaka na ang DAR," (DAR is like a broken record) Jayme argued explaining that these reasons have been there ever since and because they have not resolved it despite their promises, if affected their performance at the expense of farmer-beneficiaries and much needed asset reforms."*