MANILA – A senator has called as "redundant" and "unnecessary" the process of revalidation of farmers' records and certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) before they can receive land titles under Republic Act 11953 or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act recently signed into law by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
The President is set to sign on Tuesday the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 11953.
"We would like to emphasize the spirit of the law to facilitate the awarding of lands to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs). There should be no unnecessary revalidation for farmers to avail of the emancipation program," Senator Imee Marcos said in a statement on Monday.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare, and Rural Development, also called the IRR's completion a fitting tribute to "my father and the father of land reform," former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., in time for his 106th birth anniversary on Sept. 11.
She said the IRR would be meaningless to farmers if this posed a new hurdle to their dream of owning land.
"Let's not extend what is already the longest-running land reform program in history," she said, citing its inception in October 1972 through Presidential Decree 27.
Apart from freeing farmers from unpaid debt, the lawmaker said the prompt handover of land titles under RA 11953 will improve their access to financing that can increase their crop production and spur the country's agricultural growth.
The government has yet to fulfill the new law's promise of land ownership for 610,054 identified ARBs with 68,427 or 11.2 percent having received their land titles.
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) reported that land titles awarded to farmers covering some 85,853 hectares or 7.3 percent of the 1,173,102 hectares the government has allotted for distribution.
The senator said the uncertainty in land ownership among ARBs and the lack of investment, backed by collateral assets such as land, have dragged on the country's agricultural growth.
"Forced to borrow from informal lending channels that charged usurious interest rates, our farmers became poorer and less capable of uplifting the state of our agriculture," she said.
The lawmaker is optimistic that the land titles anticipated by farmers would keep them from giving up on their livelihood and encourage the next generation to take care of these farm lands. (PNA)