MANILA – Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Bernie F. Cruz said there is no need to amend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL).

“The agrarian reform program is not about consolidating lands. The program awards individual land titles to beneficiaries to give them the freedom of managing it themselves and to create more opportunities for them,” Cruz said in a news release on Tuesday.

Cruz made this reaction after of George Barcelon, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), pushed for specific amendments in the CARL that include easing the rules in land consolidation and ownership to create opportunities for better agricultural productivity by farming larger tracts of land.

Cruz said the agrarian reform program under Presidential Decree No. 27 and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) issues individual land titles to landless farmers and farmworkers.

“If we will consolidate lands, that would be going against the intent and essence of PD 27 and CARP. We will be destroying the legacies of the father and grandfather of President-Elect Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and incoming DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella, III, respectively,” Cruz said.

“Under the CARP though, we have awarded collective land titles called the collective certificate of land ownership award (CCLOAs) in the past. Seeing that the farmers are not prospering in their collective lands, President Duterte directed us to split these landholdings. We are now in the process of individualizing these CCLOAs to serve the farmers better,” Cruz added.

Cruz said the farmers who are bound to CCLOAs are disadvantaged in a lot of ways.

“Collective ownership does not protect the property rights of our farmers because they do not have their own titles of their lands. They also fight over what to plant,” Cruz added.

He said amending the CARP law is not the answer to make the farmers more productive.

“We all want the same thing, to improve our agricultural system through massive crop production, and we can achieve this through our Mega Farms project. It involves consolidation of production with support services and protects the property rights of farmers. It is not consolidation of ownership” Cruz said. (PR)