DAR told: Don’t blame COVID for slow land distribution

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The Department of Agrarian Reform under the Duterte administration should not make the Covid-19 pandemic as its lame excuse in its very low Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) accomplishment, according to Teresita Tarlac, president of Task Force Mapalad’s Negros-Panay Chapter.

In a  post-Valentine protest-rally in front of the provincial office of DAR in Dawis, Bacolod City yesterday, February 15, Tarlac underscored that the department’s performance has always been anemic since 2016.

Members of TFM staged a post-Valentine protest in DAR provincial office, yesterday.

Tarlac added that the department should not blame Covid-19 for their snail-paced work because the virus has nothing to do with it. It is the DAR that causes another kind of virus to linger – the poverty and hunger virus that has been worsening among us landless peasants because the state continues to fail in its social justice mandate under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, ” she explained.

According to TFM’s computation based on DAR data, the current administration accomplishment for the last 5 years was only 142,806 has. This was way far from what former Pres. Joseph Estrada’s short-lived administration has accomplished, it added.

Based on data provided by TFM, LAD accomplishment of the Estrada administration was at 379,905 has. (or 126,635 has. annually) from 1998 to 2000, only lasting for less than three years.

In a press statement, TFM said there are many landholdings especially in Negros Occidental, which has the biggest LAD backlog among the provinces nationwide, that are already in the pipeline, needing just a few paper works before these can be distributed to their tillers.

“The DAR and other CARP-implementing agencies have already finished surveying these landholdings. The field work required for these estates to be acquired for CARP has already been accomplished,” Tarlac stressed.