MANILA – About PHP3.52 billion will be given to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in 2023 for the fulfillment of its land tenure services that will benefit Filipino farmers, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Thursday.

The DBM said the proposed funding for the implementation of the DAR’s Land Tenure Security Program (LTSP) was included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) 2023 submitted to Congress.

“The proposed LTSP budget is 12.68 percent higher than this year’s PHP3.12 billion NEP allocation,” it said.

The DBM noted that the proposed PHP3.52-billion budget would enable the DAR to acquire and register about 27,942 hectares of land, as well as to distribute 27,102 hectares of private agricultural and government-owned lands in favor of Filipino farmers.

It said the LTSP funds for next year would cover five subprograms – land acquisition and distribution with a proposed budget of PHP3.03 billion, non-land transfer activities (PHP11.89 million), landowners’ compensation by the Land Bank of the Philippines (PHP256.78 million), post-land distribution (PHP65.12 million), and other engagements in keeping with the LTSP (PHP152.95 million).

The DAR is the lead government agency mandated to implement “comprehensive and genuine” agrarian reform, which actualizes equitable land distribution, ownership, agricultural productivity, and tenurial security for, of, and with the tillers of the land towards the improvement of their quality of life.

The LTSP is DAR’s major undertaking, along with the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development and Sustainability Program and Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling.

Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said the allocation of funds for the LTSP would help uplift the lives and improve the productivity of Filipino farmers.

She said she sympathizes with the farmers as they continue to face several challenges that hinder the growth of the agriculture sector.

Ang pagkakaroon po ng sariling lupa ang pangarap po ng marami sa ating mga minamahal na magsasaka. Daan po ito tungo sa mas mabuting buhay para sa kanila. (Having a land to till is the dream of many farmers. This will allow them to have a comfortable life),” she said.
“Hopefully po, makatulong po ang paglalaan natin ng pondo para sa LTSP para makamit ng ating mga magsasaka ang pangarap nilang magkaroon ng sarili nilang lupang sasakahin (Hopefully, the proposed funds for LTSP would help farmers achieve their dream of having their own land). We want to help empower them and improve their lives."

On its official website, the DAR explained that land tenure services are operationalized either through land acquisition and distribution or leasehold operations.

Land acquisition and distribution involve the redistribution of government and private agricultural lands to landless farmers and farm workers. They secure farmers' tenure, promote social equity, and provide them with the necessary productive resources needed to ensure their economic viability and productivity.

Leasehold operation, on the other hand, is the alternative non-land transfer scheme that covers all tenanted agricultural lands, such as those in the retained areas, not yet acquired for distribution under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, and those which may be covered under existing laws.

In his budget message, President Ferdinand R. Marcos committed to distributing land to Filipino farmers.

He also vowed that his administration “will continue to uphold the rights of farmers and farm workers through the strengthened pursuit” of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. (PNA)