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Nasindak sa sermon: Castriciones issues new DAR order simplifying land use conversion

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The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued guidelines and procedures to streamline the tedious process of application for land use conversion through its Administrative Order (AO) No. 01, series of 2019.

Agrarian Reform Secretary John R. Castriciones, in a statement, said the agency is mandated to approve or disapprove applications for land use conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural purposes pursuant to Section 65 of the Republic Act 6657, as amended by Executive Order 129-A, and paragraph (13), Section 3, Title XI of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 (EO No. 292).

The AO’s release came a few weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed frustration with the slow pace of land use conversion in the country.

Castriciones disclosed that specific provisions of AO No.1, series of 2002 are amended to ensure the speedy disposition of the said cases.

One such example is that strictly no application shall be accepted, docketed and processed unless the documentary requirements for conversion grant are complete and sufficient in form and substance.

“When the agricultural land which is the subject of the application for conversion has been acquired under RA 6657, its conversion shall be allowed only if the applicant is the agrarian reform beneficiary thereof and the applicant upon conversion shall fully pay the price of the land,” another section of the new AO reads.

Also, electronic copies of land titles can now be used as basis for identifying the landholding and its registered owner subject of the application in lieu of a certified true copy of the title except for the following provinces and cities: Sulu (Jolo), Batanes (Basco), Cagayan (Tuao), Basilan (Isabela), Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, Silay City, Negros Occidental, Dapitan City and Tawi-Tawi (Bongao).

Changes concerning requirements from other agencies and local government units are also outlined in the AO.

Last February, the DAR issued a warning against persons and organizations with vested interests, circulating fake and misleading allegations in relation to the proposed DAR Administrative Order No. 1, series of 2019 regarding the streamlining of the process for Land Use Conversion applications.

The statement said that “there is no truth to the erroneous and malicious allegations that the proposed AO is ‘anti-farmer.’”

With most of the country’s land still considered for agricultural use, the agency clarified that it is not pro-conversion.

However, it said it will still have to study and consider some parcels of land for conversion.

The recently issued DAR AO No. 01, series of 2019, reflects the directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte for all concerned agencies that play a role in determining if the requirements provided by the law for land conversion to come up with a solution that makes sure the process will not be delayed subject to the tiller’s rights and food sufficiency. (PNA)

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