The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has started the validation of the status of 3,636 agrarian reform beneficiaries in Cavite to determine whether they are still the actual possessors and cultivators of the lands awarded to them.
Undersecretary for Special Concerns Office Carim Panumpang said Monday the DAR is pursuing the Certificate Of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) and Emancipation Patent (EP) validation process to determine the current situation on the ground that shall serve as the basis for any future programs.
“The task of land reform under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program is to develop and improve the lands the farmers have received from the government. This validation seeks to find out the problems they are facing so that we could address them and provide them the proper support services they need,” he said.
The activity is being conducted in the municipalities of General Trias, Dasmarinas and Carmona from Oct. 18 to 30.
The DAR official said there have been reports of awarded lands that are no longer actually tilled, cultivated or occupied by the registered farmer-beneficiaries.
Under the law, beneficiaries under Presidential Decree No. 27 who have culpably sold, disposed of, or abandoned their land are disqualified to become beneficiaries under the CARP.
Under Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, a CLOA beneficiary is prohibited to sell, transfer or convey the right to use or any usufructuary right over the land he acquired by virtue of being a beneficiary.
“Any beneficiary guilty of negligence or misuse of the land shall forfeit his right to continue as beneficiary,” Panumapang said.
Based from the pilot validation activities in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon) region, there are findings of awarded lands which are not properly cultivated, if not abandoned, by the farmer-beneficiaries and considerable number of awarded lands were already conveyed or transferred by the ARBs without the necessary DAR clearance, he cited.
“We are monitoring those awarded lots. The lots cannot be sold. They can only be sold with clearance from DAR after 10 years of possession,” he stressed.
James Arthur Dubongco, Cavite provincial agrarian reform officer, said DAR is also checking on the status of the beneficiaries over reports from the field offices that several farmer-beneficiaries have misused and illegally transacted the lands they received from DAR.
“If we find out through this validation that farmer-beneficiaries have abandoned their farm lots or misused it or illegally converted them, the DAR can file a case against them. The DAR has the sole authority to approve or disapprove conversion of agricultural lands for residential, commercial, industrial, and other land uses as may be provided for by law,” he said.
Secretary John Castriciones earlier ordered the filing of appropriate cases for reversion if the agrarian reform beneficiaries are found guilty of negligence or misuse of the lands awarded to them.