DAR exec: Land system unclear

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Monday, June 23, 2014

"WE HAVE a major problem with our land management system."

Thus said Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes as he stressed the "disjointedness" in the land administration and management system in the country is because there are too many agencies with the same functions.

De los Reyes told media that this dysfunction is one of the reasons why there are still undistributed lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and why the distribution is taking slow.


He said that there are three agencies, which distributes land, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP); two agencies approve original survey of land - the DENR and NCIP; two agencies approve survey of subdivisions - DENR and the Land Registry Administration; different agencies provide support services to farmers - the Department of Agriculture, DENR, and DAR among others; while the LGUs are in-charge of zoning.

He said that having more than one agency in each function sometimes lead to problems in issuance of land.

Specifically, he said, sometimes the above-mentioned agencies issues one land without knowing that it was already issued by the other.

However, he added President Benigno Aquino III has already called the attention of the involved agencies to come up with a proposal on how to address the issue.

De los Reyes noted they have already submitted a proposal to the President.

"I'm not sure whether we still have time in the next two years (though)," he admitted.

He believes a re-organization of the land management system will address the issue. Although, he did not make certain whether there needs to be merging of agencies or abolishment, he ascertained there must be tighter coordination between them in the execution of duties to avoid land issues.

"It cannot continue this way. We cannot continue our land management system disjointed," he noted.

The secretary maintained the functions and principles of every government agency should be unraveled to avoid overlapping of duties.

He ended after resolving the issues on functions, all laws in the country concerning land should be reviewed so they may be properly reconciled.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 24, 2014.

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