Iloilo City—The Department of Agrarian Reform is eyeing to use drones to survey private lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
“If we can acquire drone, it will be easier for us because we no longer have to enter the property but we can proceed with the survey,” Agrarian Reform Regional Director for Western Visayas Stephen Leonidas said in an interview on the sidelines of the launching of the Land Acquisition and Distribution Free Iloilo 2020 on Tuesday.
Leonidas was one of the few regional directors invited to the formulation of the LAD simplified process.
Among his suggestions was the use of drones.
He said that using drones will make the survey faster because it is being done aerial.
He admitted that Western Visayas is the highest distributor in so far as land acquisition and distribution is concerned.
“Negros [Occidental] is the hotspot of CARP implementation because nationwide Negros has the biggest balance of about 95,000 hectares and 100 percent are private agricultural lands. Since these are prime sugar areas, resistance from landowners could not be avoided,” he explained.
As mandated under Administrative Order No. 9, even if their personnel could not enter the property to conduct survey and field investigation, still they can proceed with the coverage up to the registration of the land title.
Also, one of his suggestions was to declare martial law in areas covered by the CARP in Negros Occidental “purely to fast-track its implementation.”
However, his proposal was not approved.
“With martial law, the resistance of landowners will be neutralized. Right now, left and right, the landowners and their lawyers are filing cases against our field implementers. In fact, one of our PARO [Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer] in Negros has a warrant of arrest. This is purely to delay the implementation,” he said.
Nonetheless, he already called on DAR’s municipal officers to be “active on their coverage because Negros has the biggest target so far.”
“Whether we like it or not, we will finish the land acquisition and distribution before the term of the President ends, that is 2022,” he said.
Leonidas also recommended the establishment of an express lane at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the approval of plans.