DAR launches ₧24.6-B Wb-funded project to divide collective CLOAS under CARP
DEPARTMENT of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John R. Castriciones on Thursday led the launch of a P24.6-billion project to split the collective Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAS) previously issued by the agency under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
In his keynote address during the Virtual Launching of Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) project, Castriciones said in summary that the program is designed to uplift the lives of small Filipino farmers.
World Bank-funded project
THE SPLIT project is funded by the World Bank (WB) with a total project cost of P24.625 billion comprising 78percent loan proceeds amounting to P19.240 billion and 22 percent counterpart from the Philippine government amounting to P5.385 billion.
The project seeks to improve land tenure security and stabilize property rights of the targeted 1,140,735 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBS), covering a total area of 1,368,883 hectares of land through the fast-tracking of land subdivision/parcelization of collective CLOAS and issuance of individual titles on lands awarded under CARP. The project will be implemented in 78 provinces in 15 regions across the country.
Vital for post-covid-19 recovery
IN her message, Kathrine M. Kelm, a senior land administration specialist at the World Bank, congratulated the DAR for the successful virtual launching SPLIT project, saying it will keep the project moving forward amid the global pandemic.
“Land is a strategic national resource but more importantly, it is the most valuable asset for farmers and for world citizens. Especially in the current global pandemic, land serves as an important safety net for food and communities’ security and it will play a vital role for families to bounce back in a post- Covid-19 recovery,” Kelm said.
She said the World Bank recognizes the importance of secured land rights for economic development, social stability and equity, for improving livelihoods and ensuring environmental sustainability.
She said SPLIT is the largest land project ever at the World Bank and it was prepared and approved as a fast-tracked project courtesy of the project proponents, which, she said, is really a direct recognition of the strategic importance of the project to the government to implementing agencies to the World Bank and for project beneficiaries.
Typically a new land project will take 18 to 24 months to prepare but SPLIT was approved in less than 12 months, she said, crediting the agency’s previous partnership with the World Bank and experienced and qualified staff with a proven track record of leadership and successfully implementing big financing project complying with the WB’S rules.
CASTRICIONES said with the help of the World Bank, the DAR, and other implementing agencies, will finally launch a program that will address the concerns of small farmers “who have long suffered and endured the difficulties” in life due to lack of resources.
He reiterated that the problem with collective CLOAS is not unique to farmers alone but all other stakeholders in the agrarian reform sector, such as the DAR, local government units and even banking institutions and even the Land Bank of the Philippines.
“We all know that collective CLOAS do not specifically identify the area, or portion, which the farmers are supposed to own. Because of this, sometimes, there are irritants that exist among our farmers. It also defeats the very essence of the program, because in all programs, we need some funding but farmers are unable to pay for their amortization and we cannot specify which portion of the land they own,” he said.
He said banking institutions are likewise having problem from collecting amortization due to the setup.
The local government units, he added, are also unable to collect real property taxes which added to the problem.
Because of these hindrances, he said the supposed economic growth is stunted.
“With the parcelization, they will now be able to use the property as collateral to obtain loans from banks,” he said.
Fieldwork amid Covid
HE said the parcelization calls for a lot of sacrifices and a lot of risk to DAR field personnel and employees because of the pandemic as they will be forced to do the legwork on the ground more in the process.
Castriciones said he does not see any negative impact on the implementation of the program. Some “apprehensions,” he said, are “unfounded” such as reducing the awarded land to subsistence farming size, saying the DAR will continue to provide services through the agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organizations (ARBOS).
He said through the different ARBOS, the DAR will help strengthen the individual and collective capacities of small farmers, citing plans to promote block farming by establishing mega-farms.
With the mega-farms concept, Castriciones said farmers with individual land titles can come together and form one big unit to do farming on a massive scale. Under such a program, or scheme, he said foreign assistance can be extended to them through the DAR “even if their titles are already subdivided.”
He said even with the land titles being parceled, farmers are bounded by the 10-year restrictive period and precondition of paying the entire cost of land before they are able to sell these and that the land will not be used for purposes other than for food production.