By Prince Golez
President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order (EO) directing all state agencies to identify public lands that are suitable for agriculture or land reform.
EO 75 was signed on February 15, 2019 by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea by authority of Duterte.
It directs the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to acquire all available public lands suitable for agricultural use for distribution to qualified farmer beneficiaries.
“The DAR, in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, shall undertake the validation of lands identified, taking into consideration their suitability for agricultural use, limitations on their use under existing laws and issuances, their respective metes and bounds, and such other relevant criteria that may be provided under the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of this Order,” Duterte’s latest directive read.
The DAR and the Department of Justice are tasked to jointly formulate the IRR regarding the validation, segregation, transfer, and distribution of government-owned lands, as well as the criteria for the validation of such lands, identification of qualified beneficiaries, and mechanisms and procedures in case of related protests or appeals.
All other government offices and agencies are directed to render such prompt and necessary assistance, subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations, to fully implement the provisions of the Order.