By Mar Supnad
ORANI, Bataan — Malacañang, in consultation with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), is reviewing an Executive Order that will distribute government-owned lands to farmers for free.
During the recent Agrarian Reform and Convergence Summit here, Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones said President Rodrigo R. Duterte wants some government-owned lands to be awarded to deserving farmworkers.
“The issuance of notice of coverage for land distribution under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) has ended but we will still have more lands to be distributed for our second phase of the program,” Castriciones said.
Under CARP Phase 2, DAR is mulling to cover both public and private agricultural land in its distribution to farmers.
In Hermosa town, Bataan Mayor Jopet Inton is also mulling to convert into a housing project a two-hectare land in Mabuco for the benefit of the homeless here.
“We have a lot of private idled land here that can be processed by DAR thru CARP,” said Rex Jorge, Municipal planning officer and Executive assistant to the mayor.
The proposed plan to distribute idled government land will also solve the perennial problem of land-grabbing by organized syndicates who suddenly occupy lands then will sell it later.
Castriciones revealed that there are still about 561,000 hectares of land that can still be distributed, while there are 260,000 hectares of government-owned lands in the country.
“If the privately-owned lands we previously distributed were paid by farmers thru Landbank, the government-owned lands that President Duterte wants to distribute will be for free,” Castriciones added.
“As of today, DAR has already distributed five million hectares of land to farmers across the country and about three million of our farmers have already received their Certificate of Land Ownership Award,” he furthered.