The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has batted for an expeditious distribution to agricultural workers of their land titles to over 1.3 million hectares covered by the collective Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) under the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Through Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia, the CHR said the speedy distribution of titles would improve the lives of agricultural workers who have always been at the bottom of rural development.
De Guia said the CHR has noted that while the government has launched several programs to address land monopoly and unfair landlord-tenant relationships, agrarian reform remained an issue in the country.
The CHR fully supports the government’s policies and program since they will improve land tenure security and stable property rights of around one million agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) nationwide, she said.
She cited the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) program called “Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling” or SPLIT that will expedite the parcelization of more than 1.3 million hectares covered by the collective CLOAs under CARP.
Under SPLIT, she noted, that the DAR will also look into instances where land titles were not distributed to farmers despite already being awarded with lands and collective CLOAs under CARP, such as in the case involving DAR-Cebu.
De Guia was referring to published reports that over 2,000 land titles, some reportedly issued since 1987, remained undistributed to CARP beneficiaries in Cebu province. DAR officials and personnel in its office in Cebu may face criminal and administrative charges, the reports stated.
“Apart from the economic benefits of land distribution, the CHR stresses that land rights, particularly in developing countries such as the Philippines, are inextricably linked with the right to food, the right to work, and a host of other human rights,” De Guia said.
“In many instances, the right to land is bound up with a community’s identity, its livelihood, and, thus, its very survival,” she stressed.