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Agrarian Reform In The Philippines Research Paper

Policy Papers

Philippine Agrarian Reform Program: Recent Experiences and Policy Directions (Policy Paper 4)

Authors: Prudenciano U. Gordoncillo, Cesar B. Quicoy


Abstract


The rural areas of the Philippines have been the arena of social instability brought about by inequities in land and income distribution as well as massive poverty. Consequently, agrarian reform has always been the core of the political platforms advocated by politicians and policy makers in order to mitigate social instability. The more recent attempts to alter the agrarian structure in the countryside have been going on since the 1930s. The initiatives modestly started with strong emphasis on tenancy regulations and homestead and "landed estates" policies. Later, the scope of agrarian reform included the expropriation of tenanted rice and corn lands, and eventually all crops irrespective of tenurial status. After almost 21 years of implementation, studies have shown that the comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) resulted in the significant positive social and economic transformation of the direct beneficiaries, at both the household (ARB) and community levels. However, at the macro level, the landscape of Philippine agriculture has not changed considerably. Traditional cropping systems still dominate. The agrarian sector is still characterized by massive poverty and inequality. So, despite the distribution of about 7 million hectares to about 5.4 beneficiaries, at the cost of about PhP145 Billion, why are we missing the targets? The factors that have brought about this condition and that were abstracted in this paper provide directions for policies and procedures to enhance and sustain the gains of the program toward its extended implementation until 2014. In broader terms, there is the need to revitalize the organization of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council and trim the massive Department of Agrarian Reform bureaucracy. To address the logistical constraints, there is the need to increase the allocation of CARP funding from the General Appropriations Act instead of relying more on the uncertain proceeds from the Asset Privatization Trust and Presidential Commission on Good Government. There is the need to focus on the implementation of CARP in lands under compulsory acquisition and declare a moratorium on the less coercive modes such as voluntary offers and transfers. In the delivery of support services, there has to be a rationalization strategy to balance productivity-enhancing support services vis-a-vis marketing support. Finally, there is a need to revisit the provisions governing leasehold and address the policy gap on the land rental market in the face of changing factor proportions and changes in the land rights market structure.

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