(PNA photo by Oliver Marquez)

MANILA – A total of 437,922 hectares of agricultural land have already been subdivided by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) into individual lots as of Dec. 31, 2022 under the Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) project.

DAR said in a news release Friday that 146,860 previously distributed Collective Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CCLOA) are now divided into individual titles and are set to be distributed to qualified farmer-beneficiaries.

The SPLIT project pursues the full implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program by enabling farmer-beneficiaries to have a clear and defined ownership of the parcels of land they are tilling; encouraging farmers to increase their production and make long-term improvements of their land; stabilizing the ownership, tenureship and control of the lands awarded to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs); and generate short-term income opportunities for the project workers who will be hired in the implementation of the project.

The PHP24.62-billion project is funded by the World Bank while the national government covers 1.36 million hectares of land nationwide to benefit some 1.14 million ARBs.

In a statement, Secretary Conrado Estrella III noted that field implementers had gone through the tedious process of subdividing these areas.

These include the CCLOA inventory and data gathering, ARB and landholding field validation, and segregation and subdivision surveys, which will lead to the generation and registration of individual CLOA and the distribution and installation of qualified ARBs.

“Majority of the CCLOAs distributed during the 1990s have already encountered a lot of changes, in so far as the actual tillers and owners of the farmlands, and the current size of the landholdings,” Estrella said.

DAR Assistant Secretary for Field Operations and SPLIT project national director Joey Sumatra said that about 30 percent of the ARBs listed in CCLOA are no longer in the area where the landholdings are located, either due to abandonment, death, or their rights have already been sold.

“We have to undertake field validation process through the disqualification and reallocation proceedings to determine the qualified beneficiaries,” Sumatra said.

Sumatra also cited the need to settle several issues, such as overlapping issues between Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-covered farmlands and ancestral lands of indigenous communities, land survey to determine portions of landholdings already allocated for non-agricultural uses and the process of generating electronic titles, among others.

He added the need to segregate portions of landholdings allocated for non-agricultural uses, like road networks and basic social facilities before determining the metes and bounds of each subdivided farm lot.

Consultations and dialogues were conducted among concerned local governments, National Commission for Indigenous Peoples, Land Registration Authority, ARBs and tribal communities. (Marita Moaje/PNA)