‘DAR office in Dinagat Islands long overdue’
The Manila Times
THE House Committee on Agrarian Reform approved on Tuesday House Bill (HB) 324 which creates a provincial office for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in the Dinagat Islands. “Since its establishment 14 years ago, Dinagat Islands has yet to have its own DAR Provincial Office. The presence of a full-fledged DAR office in the Dinagat Islands is long overdue,” Rep. Alan Ecleo, who is the author of HB 324, said. The DAR is one of the key agencies tasked with conducting research, ocular inspection, and village mapping for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program’s (CARP) implementation. The CARP is the transfer of private and public agricultural lands to beneficiaries to enable them to survive as small, independent farmers, regardless of the “tenurial” structure. It aims to offer landowners equal income and opportunity; to enable land owner beneficiaries to have equitable land ownership; to increase agricultural production and productivity; to employ more agricultural workers; and to put an end to land ownership conflicts. Ecleo said the DAR is in serious need of full-time workers as well as the requisite buildings and equipment to carry out the distribution of lands covered by the country’s agrarian reform program, as the Agriculture department is now only working through a satellite office in the province. “As of 2019, there are 9,047 hectares of land covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program that has yet to be fully distributed to our landless farmers,” Ecleo said. Ecleo highlighted that the DAR will assist in providing farmer beneficiaries with the chance to reap the advantages of the land they till, as well as assisting thousands of Dinagat Island residents in experiencing the possibilities and social mobility that come with entrepreneurship and industry.