What is the history of land reform in the Philippines?

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"The New Republic" After the establishment of the Philippine Independence in 1946, the problems of land tenure remained. These became worst in certain areas. Thus the Congress of the Philippines revised the tenancy law.

President Manuel Roxas (1946-1948) enacted the following laws:
  • Republic Act No. 34 -- Established the 70-30 sharing arrangements and regulating share-tenancy contracts.
  • Republic Act No. 55 -- Provided for a more effective safeguard against arbitrary ejectment of tenants.
President Elpidio Quirino (1948-1953) enacted the following law:
  • Executive Order No. 355 issued on October 23, 1950 -- Replaced the National Land Settlement Administration with Land Settlement Development Corporation (LASEDECO) which takes over the responsibilities of the Agricultural Machinery Equipment Corporation and the Rice and Corn Production Administration.

President Ramon Magsaysay (1953-1957) enacted the following laws:
  • Republic Act No. 1160 of 1954 -- Abolished the LASEDECO and established the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) to resettle dissidents and landless farmers. It was particularly aimed at rebel returnees providing home lots and farmlands in Palawan and Mindanao.

  • Republic Act No. 1199 (Agricultural Tenancy Act of 1954) -- governed the relationship between landowners and tenant farmers by organizing share-tenancy and leasehold system. The law provided the security of tenure of tenants. It also created the Court of Agrarian Relations.

  • Republic Act No. 1400 (Land Reform Act of 1955) -- Created the Land Tenure Administration (LTA) which was responsible for the acquisition and distribution of large tenanted rice and corn lands over 200 hectares for individuals and 600 hectares for corporations.

  • Republic Act No. 821 (Creation of Agricultural Credit Cooperative Financing Administration) -- Provided small farmers and share tenants loans with low interest rates of six to eight percent.

President Carlos P. Garcia (1957-1961)

Continued the program of President Ramon Magsaysay. No new legislation passed.

President Diosdado Macapagal (1961-1965) enacted the following law:
  • Republic Act No. 3844 of August 8, 1963 (Agricultural Land Reform Code) -- Abolished share tenancy, institutionalized leasehold, set retention limit at 75 hectares, invested rights of preemption and redemption for tenant farmers, provided for an administrative machinery for implementation, institutionalized a judicial system of agrarian cases, incorporated extension, marketing and supervised credit system of services of farmer beneficiaries.

The RA was hailed as one that would emancipate Filipino farmers from the bondage of tenancy.

President Ferdinand Marcos (1965-1986). Proclamation No. 1081 on September 21, 1972 ushered the Period of the New Society. Five days after the proclamation of Martial Law, the entire country was proclaimed a land reform area and simultaneously the Agrarian Reform Program was decreed.

President Marcos enacted the following laws:
  • Republic Act No. 6389, (Code of Agrarian Reform) and RA No. 6390 of 1971 -- Created the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Agrarian Reform Special Account Fund. It strengthen the position of farmers and expanded the scope of agrarian reform.

  • Presidential Decree No. 2, September 26, 1972 -- Declared the country under land reform program. It enjoined all agencies and offices of the government to extend full cooperation and assistance to the DAR. It also activated the Agrarian Reform Coordinating Council

  • Presidential Decree No. 27, October 21, 1972 -- Restricted land reform scope to tenanted rice and corn lands and set the retention limit at 7 hectares.

President Corazon C. Aquino (1986-1992)

The Constitution ratified by the Filipino people during the administration of President Corazon C. Aquino provides under Section 21 under Article II that "The State shall promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform."

On June 10, 1988, former President Corazon C. Aquino signed into law Republic Act No. 6657 or otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL). The law became effective on June 15, 1988.

Subsequently, four Presidential issuances were released in July 1987 after 48 nationwide consultations before the actual law was enacted.

President Corazon C. Aquino enacted the following laws:
  • Executive Order No. 228, July 16, 1987 - Declared full ownership to qualified farmer-beneficiaries covered by PD 27. It also determined the value remaining unvalued rice and corn lands subject of PD 27 and provided for the manner of payment by the FBs and mode of compensation to landowners.

  • Executive Order No. 229, July 22, 1987 - Provided mechanism for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

  • Proclamation No. 131, July 22, 1987 - Instituted the CARP as a major program of the government. It provided for a special fund known as the Agrarian Reform Fund (ARF), with an initial amount of Php50 billion to cover the estimated cost of the program from 1987-1992.

  • Executive Order No. 129-A, July 26, 1987 - streamlined and expanded the power and operations of the DAR.

  • Republic Act No. 6657, June 10, 1988 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law) - An act which became effective June 15, 1988 and instituted a comprehensive agrarian reform program to promote social justice and industrialization providing the mechanism for its implementation and for other purposes. This law is still the one being implemented at present.

  • Executive Order No. 405, June 14, 1990 - Vested in the Land Bank of the Philippines the responsibility to determine land valuation and compensation for all lands covered by CARP.

  • Executive Order No. 407, June 14, 1990 - Accelerated the acquisition and distribution of agricultural lands, pasture lands, fishponds, agro-forestry lands and other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture.

President Fidel V. Ramos (1992-1998) When President Fidel V. Ramos formally took over in 1992, his administration came face to face with publics who have lost confidence in the agrarian reform program. His administration committed to the vision "Fairer, faster and more meaningful implementation of the Agrarian Reform Program.

President Fidel V. Ramos enacted the following laws:
  • Republic Act No. 7881, 1995 - Amended certain provisions of RA 6657 and exempted fishponds and prawns from the coverage of CARP.

  • Republic Act No. 7905, 1995 - Strengthened the implementation of the CARP.

  • Executive Order No. 363, 1997 - Limits the type of lands that may be converted by setting conditions under which limits the type of lands that may be converted by setting conditions under which specific categories of agricultural land are either absolutely non-negotiable for conversion or highly restricted for conversion.

  • Republic Act No. 8435, 1997 (Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act AFMA) - Plugged the legal loopholes in land use conversion.

  • Republic Act 8532, 1998 (Agrarian Reform Fund Bill) - Provided an additional Php50 billion for CARP and extended its implementation for another 10 years.

President Joseph E. Estrada (1998-2000) "ERAP PARA SA MAHIRAP'. This was the battle cry that endeared President Joseph Estrada and made him very popular during the 1998 presidential election.

President Joseph E. Estrada initiated the enactment of the following law:
  • Executive Order N0. 151, September 1999 (Farmer's Trust Fund) - Allowed the voluntary consolidation of small farm operation into medium and large scale integrated enterprise that can access long-term capital.

During his administration, President Estrada launched the Magkabalikat Para sa Kaunlarang Agraryo or MAGKASAKA. The DAR forged into joint ventures with private investors into agrarian sector to make FBs competitive.

However, the Estrada Administration was short lived. The masses who put him into office demanded for his ouster.

President Gloria Macapacal-Arroyo (2000-present) The agrarian reform program under the Arroyo administration is anchored on the vision "To make the countryside economically viable for the Filipino family by building partnership and promoting social equity and new economic opportunities towards lasting peace and sustainable rural development."
  • Land Tenure Improvement - DAR will remain vigorous in implementing land acquisition and distribution component of CARP. The DAR will improve land tenure system through land distribution and leasehold.

  • Provision of Support Services - CARP not only involves the distribution of lands but also included package of support services which includes: credit assistance, extension services, irrigation facilities, roads and bridges, marketing facilities and training and technical support programs.

  • Infrastrucre Projects - DAR will transform the agrarian reform communities (ARCs), an area focused and integrated delivery of support services, into rural economic zones that will help in the creation of job opportunities in the countryside.

  • KALAHI ARZone - The KALAHI Agrarian Reform (KAR) Zones were also launched. These zones consists of one or more municipalities with concentration of ARC population to achieve greater agro-productivity.

  • Agrarian Justice - To help clear the backlog of agrarian cases, DAR will hire more paralegal officers to support undermanned adjudicatory boards and introduce quota system to compel adjudicators to work faster on agrarian reform cases. DAR will respect the rights of both farmers and landowners.
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