AGRARIAN Reform Secretary Gil de los Reyes said he is optimistic that his office could finish its land distribution program in time, saying that the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program extension with reform (CARPer) Law offers definitive guidelines on land valuation that is good enough for landowners to have a change of heart.
De los Reyes said that many landowners are actually supportive of the program but are wary about the compensation package previously offered by the government. This resulted to the filing of numerous cases seeking better compensation.
He, however, expects the situation to be reversed now that production aspect of the land is given more premium in land valuation today. It is here, he said, where the big difference lies.
Add to this the location, especially if it is closer to the urban center, would help one get a fair price, De los Reyes said.
The DAR chief said that landowners can expect higher compensation depending on the productivity of their lands.
“The idea is to reward those who maximize the production of their lands,” De los Reyes said.
Generally, however, it’s not the price of the land that matters most. Many landowners still believe in the beneficial effects of the program to the lives of the rural folks, he said.
In Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, DAR regional director Alexis Arsenal said 42 hectares of the Hacienda Paz II were distributed to 52 farmer-beneficiaries, thanks to the sudden change of heart by the landowner who voluntarily placed his property under the program.
Arsenal said the distribution of the 41.8 hectares of agricultural lands was made possible after landowner Luiggi Batizztuzi recognized the importance of the program in improving the economic well-being of farmer-beneficiaries.
Arsenal reminded farmer-beneficiaries that the awarding of pieces of farm lands to them has accompanying obligations on their part to pay the annual amortization and real estate taxes.
“Don’t forget to pay taxes and the land amortization,” he said. -30- PAS, DAR