Small farmers are the ultimate winners in the immediate passing of the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) P8.45 billion proposed budget for 2021, DAR Secretary John Castriciones said.
Castriciones said the DAR, with the use of its budget, hopes to contribute to the attainment of agrarian peace and stability, sustainable development, social justice and industrialization in the rural areas.
“I am happy about this development because DAR is the government agency that champions the welfare of the Filipino farmers,” Castriciones said in a statement.
Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson for Food, Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, earlier said the bulk of the proposed budget would be used to support the three major programs of DAR, namely the Agrarian Justice Delivery Program with P897.4 million; Land Tenure Security Program with P3.4 billion; and the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development and Sustainability Program with P1-5 billion.
She said department’s only remaining lands to be distributed are the problematic properties that involve legal issues.
Land titling funded
DAR’s budget for 2021 is around seven percent lower than its current budget for 2020 worth P9.135 billion.
Lawmakers have asked for an additional P5 billion increase in the budget of the agency for the implementation of DAR’s “mega farms” project.
Magsasaka Partylist Rep. Argel Cabatbat reiterated his support for this endeavor wherein around 50 hectares of contiguous land will be developed into specialized crops production areas.
The committee on appropriations will have to convene before the increase in budget will be approved.
Castriciones justified the proposed budget saying the bulk of the funds will be used for implementing individual land titling towards land tenure security.
“It is not mandatory that all collective CLOA (certificates of land ownership award) will be subjected to this. We would like to empower farmers so that they can have a title of their own,”
Castriciones said, noting that the land titles will allow farmers to use these as collaterals to apply for loans. Such land titles can also be a source of state revenues via taxes.