The Daily Manila Shimbun


DAR prepares fourth draft on two-year moratorium on land conversion

March 1, 2017

The Department of Agrarian Reform has prepared a fourth draft of the two-year moratorium on the land conversion, with some exemptions.

In a forum on Wednesday in Quezon City, DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano said it would be up to President Rodrigo Duterte when he would issue the executive order.

Under the new draft, he said, "there are proposed exemptions. For example, those (lands) to be used for socialized housing, eco-tourism, special economic zones, resettlement areas, especially to the victims of the calamity."

He said there will also be a provision that recommendation of any government agency will be through a bilateral discussion with DAR instead of getting approval from the president.

Mariano said he could not say if the fourth draft could be considered as "a win-win version."

Duterte's economic managers and then Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council chair Vice President Leni Robredo opposed initial proposal of DAR for the moratorium on the acceptance of application for land use conversion.

Business groups have been opposing also the proposal.

Mariano warned landowners DAR will revoke conversion clearances issued if landowners or applicants failed to completely implement development plan within five year period after a conversion order was issued.

From 1996 up to September last year, about 217,000 hectares of land were excluded from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

Mariano has said the moratorium would protect and ensure the rights of farmers as he cited a state policy to preserve prime agricultural lands to ensure food security.

Meanwhile, Duterte convened the 36th Presidential Agrarian reform Council (PARC) meeting in Malacanang on Tuesday. This was the second time he presided over the PARC, which last took place under the Arroyo administration. Celerina Monte/DMS