Aguinaldo State Dining Room, Malacañang
September 12, 2016

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gave his full support to the agrarian reform program when he convened and presided the 35th Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) Meeting in Malacañang to discuss the status of the implementation of the agrarian reform law and other issues with landowners and farmer beneficiaries in the country.

According to Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano, they have discussed with the President the five-point thrusts and policy directions of DAR: (1) protect farmers and ensure their security of tenure; (2) promote farmers’ rights and welfare; (3) contribute to rural development; (4) help ensure food security and (5) strengthen the DAR community.

Chained and locked for almost two decades, the two main gates of DAR were finally opened to farmers, and continuous open dialogues and consultations with all stakeholders are now being held.

Mariano has also given his marching orders to the department heads, including the immediate field validation and inventory of all lands given to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) to make sure they still own the lands, as well as doing a quick inventory of conversion orders issued by DAR and reviewing existing contracts with stock distribution plans.

From 1972 to June 2016, more than 4.7 million hectares of lands have been given to 2.7 million ARBs under CARP.

During the meeting, President Duterte has ordered Landbank to provide more aid for the program. An executive order is also being prepared to declare a two-year moratorium on conversion of agricultural lands.

The Council is the highest policy-making body in implementing agrarian reform laws and dealing with issues under the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Based on the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 (Republic Act 6657), the PARC is composed of the President of the Philippines as Chairperson, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform as Vice-Chairperson and the following as members; Secretaries of the Department of Agriculture; Environment and Natural Resources; Budget and Management; Interior and Local Government; Public Works and Highways; Trade and Industry; Finance; and Labor and Employment.

Also included as PARC members are the Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority; Land Bank of the Philippines President; National Irrigation Administration Administrator; Land Registration Authority Administrator; and representatives of affected landowners and agrarian reform beneficiaries from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

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