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Govt to buy, distribute lands in 2011

[ manilastandardtoday.com ] December 29, 2010
THE government intends to acquire some 300,000 hectares of private and public estates next year for redistribution to agrarian reform beneficiaries, Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas said on Tuesday.
For this purpose, Gullas said a total of P10.179 billion has been set aside in the 2011 General Appropriations Act.
The P10.179 billion is 15.4 percent or P1.363 billion higher than this year’s P8.816-billion allocation for the land acquisition and distribution plan of the Department of Agrarian Reform, Gullas said.
“The fresh funding will enable the DAR to take over some 200,000 hectares of private land and 100,000 hectares of public land, and then parcel the estates out to small landless farmers,” Gullas said.
The lawmaker made the statement as the government prepared to renew formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front.
Confiscatory land reform–the seizure of estates owned by “big landlords” and the subsequent redistribution of the holdings to “landless peasants”–formed part of the NDF’s original 10-point program put forth in the 1980s.
Gullas said the 300,000 hectares targeted for acquisition and dispersal next year would cover around 20 percent of the residual undistributed lands.
Thus far, government has awarded a total of 7,558,777 hectares of land to some five million agrarian reform beneficiaries countrywide, leaving only 1,485,295 hectares still undistributed, according to the DAR.
In August 2009, Congress passed Republic Act 9700, which extended by another five years the land acquisition and distribution schedule under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program of 1988.
Under the law, the DAR has up to June 30, 2014 to complete its land procurement and dispersal plan and expand the economic opportunities of small farmers who currently do not own the land they are cultivating.
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