The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) has as its primary objectives both the improvement of equality and the increase in productivity and growth in the rural areas. It was a land reform law mandated by Republic Act No. 6657, signed by President Corazon Aquino in June 10, 1988. It was the fifth land reform program in fifty years, following the land reform laws of Presidents Manuel Quezon, Ramon Magsaysay, Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand Marcos.
Republic Act No.6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) has become the legal basis for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). RA 6657 also provided mechanism for its implementation.
This paper will undertake the following; first, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) as the legal basis of CARP. Second, The components of CARP and third, land reform under the administration of Presidents Corazon C. Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
This paper aims to determine whether Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program objectives are successfully implemented.
1. Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law: Legal basis of CARP
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program was a response to the people’s clamor and expectations of a more effective land reform program that would correct the many flaws that plagued the previous land reform programs. Republic Act No. 6657, signed into law on June 10, 1988 by President Corazon Aquino, known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 (CARL), is an act instituting a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program to promote social justice and industrialization, providing the mechanism for it’s implementation and for other purposes.
The law’s major features are the following:
· It provides for the coverage of all agricultural lands regardless of crops produced or tenurial status of the tiller;
· It Recognizes as beneficiaries of the program all workers in the land given that they are landless and willing to till the land;
· It provides for the delivery of support services to program beneficiaries;
· It provides for arrangement that ensure the tenurial security of farmers and farm workers such as the leasehold arrangement, stock distribution option and production and profit sharing; and
· It increases an adjudication body that will resolve agrarian disputes.
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 covers, regardless of tenurial arrangement and crop produced, all public and private agricultural lands as provided in Proclamation No. 131 and Executive Order No. 229, including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture. Originally, the total area of this coverage was calculated to be 10.3 million hectares. The later CARP Scope Validation (CSV) however, has pegged the total program area at 8, 169, 545 hectares. Of this total area 54 percent (4.4) million hectares) falls under the responsibility of DAR while the remaing 46 percent (3.8 million hectares) comprises the DENR’s jurisdiction.
The law designated that land acquisition and distribution are to be done in a period of ten years following the effectivity of the law. Phase one covers rice and corn lands under the Presidential Decree No. 27; all idle or abandoned lands; all privately-owned lands voluntarily offered by the landowners for land reform; all lands foreclosed by government financial institutions; all lands acquired by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG); and all other lands owned by the government devoted to or suitable for agriculture (RA 6657). Phase two covers all alienable and disposable public agricultural lands, all arable public agricultural under agro-forest, pasture and agricultural leases that are cultivated and planted to crops in accordance with Section 6, Article XIII of the Constitution; all public agricultural lands in excess of fifty hectares. Phase three includes private agricultural landholdings above 24 hectares up to 50 hectares; and landholdings from the retention limit up to 24 hectares.
Lands that are exempted from CARP are those with a slope of more than 18 percent; reserved land such as forest reserves, watersheds, national parks, fish sanctuaries, church and mosque sites, and cemeteries; and lands that are used for national defense, education and experimental farms. The law also states that ancestral lands inhabited and used in a culturally appropriate way by indigenous cultural communities will be protected and therefore would not be distributed.
The retention limit for rice and corn lands is seven hectares, same as that in PD 27; and for non-rice and non-corn lands retention limit is five hectares while the heirs of the landowner who are 15 years old and above can retain three hectares each given they are actually tilling or managing the lang. the original homestead owners and their heirs are allowed to keep and cultivate their homestead lands of up to 24 hectares while agrarian reform beneficiaries(ARBs) can own and till as much as three hectares.
RA 6657 includes all agricultural lessees and share tenants regardless of crops grown as well as regular, seasonal and other farm workers, and framer’s organizations or cooperatives. Other potential beneficiaries are agricultural graduates, rural women, veterans and relatives of enlisted mean and women, retirees of the AFP and the Integrated National Police, and rebel returnees and surrenderees.
2. Components of CARP
Land Tenure Improvement
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law aims to promote social equity and justice by restructuring landownership patterns. Through land distribution, the government ensures that the tiller has power over his tillage, his own productivity and economic viability.
The land acquisition and distribution are the main essence of the CARP. There are at least four government agencies mandated to participate in the land acquisition and distribution process. These are the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), and the Land Registration Authority. The DAR is involved in Land distribution of private and government-owned lands and settlement areas. The DENR, on the other hand, is responsible for land survey and approval of surveys plans; land distribution of public lands; and the distribution of stewardship contracts in forestry areas. However, starting from 1993, DAR assumed the task of land survey except for the survey of public alienable and disposable lands and integrated social forestry areas. The Land Bank of the
, on the other hand, is responsible for land valuation and landowners’ compensation while the Land registration Authority is for land titling and registration. Philippines
Under RA 6657, land acquisition and distribution shall be accomplished within a period of ten years, commencing on June 10, 1988 and ending on June 10, 1998. However at the end of this 10-year period in June 1998, DAR performance reports show that only 56 percent of its target of 2.7 million beneficiaries has been accomplished so far. This figure had gone up by only a few percentage points to 63 percent as of September 2000. DENR, on the other hand, has accomplished 77 percent or 1,273,845 farmer-beneficiaries out of the 1.7 million target beneficiaries as of July 1998 (Table 1). Given all these accomplishments in land distribution, the program’s implementation was extended for completion in the year 2004.
Table 1. Accomplishment in Land distribution Number of Beneficiaries
As of 1998
Source: DAR, Policy and Strategic Research Service
2.2 Leasehold Operation
Leasehold Operation is a non-land transfer program that protects the tenurial status of tenant-farmers in tenanted lands. This is implemented when the tenant is working within the landowner’s retention limit of five hectares and the CARP covered lands that are not yet due for distribution. In this program, the tenants are entitled to 75 percent of the net harvest after the deduction of production expenses. As of September 2000. The leasehold operations have benefited a total of 1,060,144 ARBs nationwide. From January to September of 2000, there were 5,742 farmers who benefited from the scheme (Table 2).
2.3 Production and Profit Sharing
This is a temporary arrangement wherein corporate farms (operating under a lease or management contract with more than P5 million gross sales per annum) are to execute production and profit sharing plans with farm workers. These include corporate agricultural landowners who availed of deferment as provided under Section II of R.A. 6657.
2.4. Stock Distribution Option
Under this scheme, qualified beneficiaries are given the right to purchase from the landowning corporation capital stocks that are equivalent to the value of the land devoted by the company to agricultural activities. They are also entitled to dividends, other financial benefits and representation in either the company’s board of directors, management or executive committee. As of December 2000, there are 14 stocks distribution proposals covering an area of 8,388 hectares that were approved by the PARC while 20 applications are still under process.
2.5 Commercial Farms Deferment
Under this arrangement, several agricultural lands are listed for future acquisition and distribution. In this way, corporate landowners of newly established commercial plantations are given enough time to recover their investments. After the deferment period, these lands shall be subjected to immediate acquisition and distribution.
The beneficiaries under the different components of CARP total 4,079,334 as of 2000 (Table 2).
Table 2. The Beneficiaries of Land Reform Program
As of 2000
Number of Beneficiaries
1.Land Transfer of DAR
2.Land Transfer of DENR
Source: DAR, Policy and Strategic Research Service
2.6 Program Beneficiaries Development
Land distribution alone is not enough to improve the productivity of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs). The government recognizes the need for support services to complement land distribution such as credit facilities, technology and infrastructure.
Agrarian Reform Communities Development
The DAR created Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs), or clusters of barangays, as convergence areas of development efforts by all government agencies, NGOs and other people’s organizations. It is through these clusters that support services are being channeled to the farmer-beneficiaries for them to productively perform their role in community development process. Farmers are organized into teams where they undergo various organizational capabilities for their own development. Moreover, to increase the income of farmer-beneficiaries in the ARCs, the DAR establishes links between farmers’ organizations and agri-business enterprises to facilitate access to market opportunities, production inputs, and technology and credit facilities.
The Situationer Report on ARCs according to Reyes showed that as of March 2000, there are 1,060 ARCs established nationwide. Within these Arcs, there are a total number of 2,596 organizations, with members totaling 233,273 that are being assisted by DAR 2000; the average number of organization per ARC still stands at two.
On ARB empowering, a report for the first quarter of 2000 show that 7 percent of the ARB population located in ARCs nationwide were trained on the different components of ARC development.
One vital way of improving the income of ARBs is by building physical and economic infrastructures such as farm-to-market roads, irrigation systems, bridges, and post-harvest facilities. As of the end of 1999, the number of DAR-initiated infrastructure projects currently being managed by the ARCs and local government units include 948 farm-to-market roads; 7,286 post-harvest facilities; 571 irrigation systems; and 346 bridges.
To finance various agricultural and livelihood projects in the ARCs, the DAR put up its lending windows. These are: a) DAR-QUED ANCOR CARP Barangay Marketing Centers (for the construction, expansion and acquisition of on-farm warehouses with solar dryers, rice mill and other ancillary equipment and for marketing of grains); b) the DAR-LBP Countryside Marketing Partnership Program (for Production credit and affordable ownership of pre- and post-harvest facilities); c)DAR-KMI Peasant Development Fund (for agro-industrial development); d) Credit Assistance Program for Program Beneficiaries Development (CAP-PBD) (for agricultural production inputs, pre- and post-harvest facilities); e) DAR-ERAP Trust Fund (formerly the National Livelihood Support Fund) (for livelihood micro projects); and f) DAR-Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (for viable non-rice livelihood projects like processing, manufacturing, crop production).
DAR reports show that as of the first quarter of 2000 DAR-LBP Countryside Partnership Program has extended loans worth PhP 309.222 million to 13,760 ARBs. The CAP-PBD on the other hand has funded 158 projects with a total loan value of PhP 102.20 million benefiting about 5,400 ARBs. The DAR-ERAP Trust Fund since its implementation in 1997 has funded 64 projects worth PhP 450 million benefiting 28,500 ARBs.
2.7. Agrarian Justice Delivery
Agrarian Legal Assistance
Extending legal assistance during court hearings is a major support provided by the CARP to its farmer-beneficiaries. The DAR lawyers handle three types of cases and these are the judicial, quasi-judicial and non-judicial cases. Judicial cases may be civil or criminal in nature and are filed in the regular courts. Quasi-judicial on the other hand includes ejectment, reinstatement, termination of leasehold agreement, falling in the jurisdiction of the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB) and its adjudicators while non-judicial cases are those arising from agrarian law implementation and related implementing rules and regulations and personnel discipline cases. DAR reports show that as of the first quarter of 2000, there are 1,500 judicial and 4,680 quasi-judicial cases pending nationwide.
Adjudication of Cases
Through the DARAB, the Department is vested with quasi-judicial powers to determine and adjudicate disputes, cases, controversies and matters involving the implementation of RA 6657 and other related issuances.
III. Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program: Aquino, Ramos, Estrada Administration
1. Land Reform under Aquino Administration
The predecessor of CARP was the Accelerated Land Reform Program (ALRP), initiated after the ratification of the Constitution in February 1987. The ALRP, as in PD 27, imposed a ceiling of seven hectares for all croplands, the distribution of large privately- owned farms, rice and corn lands, small farms, and alienable as well as disposable lands exempting areas such as ancestral tribal lands and those that are used for public service. Other features of the program include tenancy regulation and voluntary land sharing and corporate stock sharing as alternative schemes to land reform. It may have contrasting features compared to past land reforms; however it still had flaws in it. Hence, the Aquino government drafted Executive Order No. 229 which focused on the administrative procedures and not on the substance of an agrarian reform measure. It detailed the mechanics of land registration, private land acquisition and the compensation procedures to land owners. It also specified the composition and functions of the governing entities, which will coordinate and supervise the implementation of the program. The land reform issues such as the retention limit and priority areas were left for the Congress to define. Both Houses produced their own agrarian bills. These two bills later on mirrored the contrasting interests of both Houses. While the landlord-dominated Lower House reflected the interests of landowners, the urban-based Senators emphasized the need for a land reform to attain economic development. These disputes and debates and the fact that there is diversity among the landowners themselves when it comes to land reform measures have paved the way for them to compromise. It is within this context that the CARL was put into law.
As mentioned earlier, the CARP is so far the most comprehensive agrarian reform program ever formulated. Unlike that of PD 27, which include only rice and corn lands, CARP covers all private and public agricultural lands regardless of commodity produced and tenurial status of the tiller including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture.
CARP recognizes as beneficiaries of the agrarian reform not only farmers but all workers in the land given that they are landless and willing to cultivate the land. The two agencies mandated to do the tasks of land acquisition and distributions are the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The program used variable retention limits: seven hectares for rice and corn lands, five hectares for non-rice and non-corn lands, and three hectares for each of the heirs, 15 years old and above, of the landowner given they are actually cultivating or managing the land. Aside from land acquisition and distribution, which is the very essence of CARP, it also provides for the delivery of support services such as rural development projects, human resources development activities and infrastructure facilities. It also ensures the tenurial security of farmers and farm workers by giving options like leasehold arrangement, stock distribution option, and production and profit sharing scheme. It also provides legal assistance to beneficiaries to help resolve agrarian disputes. To effectively channel these support services to the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, CARP adopted the strategy of creating Agrarian Reform Communities.
The CARP has been generally able to attain its land distribution target for the year 1987-1992. For that same period, a total of 898,420 landless tenants and farm workers became legitimate recipients of either land titles or free patents and support services.
CARP under the administration of Aquino was not successful; in fact it only accomplished 22.5 percent of CARP land redistribution in six years. One of the factors why it was successful because in her administration she had four different DAR secretaries – Philip Juico, Miriam Santiago, Florencio Abad and Benjamin Leong. It’s because of the frequent changes at the top that it failed to gather momentum in pushing for land reform. Seen as the major setback for CARP during her term was the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) of Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita. It was said that President Aquino was the first landlord to evade CARP on such a grand scale and created a higly negative atmosphere for agrarian reform.
Other negative factors during her administration were; political instability, corruption scandals related to land reform, and the decision of autonomous peasant organizations and NGOs to campaign against CARP.
2. Land Reform under the Ramos Administration
The agrarian reform policies of the Ramos administration focused on accelerating the direct land transfer and non-land transfer programs through adopting more rational and simpler operating procedures and a fair, expeditious and inexpensive settlement of agrarian disputes. It focused in the adoption of a fair land valuation formula and prompt payment of just compensation to encourage landowners to cooperate and support agrarian reform. The administration also encouraged the development of alternative schemes of landowner compensation to motivate them to invest in rural-based industries that have strong linkages with agriculture. It also adopted a progressive agricultural land tax to encourage smaller landholdings among large landowners, a land conversion tax to discourage land conversion and idle land tax to encourage landowners to cultivate the land. These taxes were also needed to augment the Agrarian Reform Fund aside from mobilizing both local and foreign resources. The administration also pursued for the amendment of Section 63 of the CARL making the ARF a revolving fund and increasing the fund to P100 Billion. It also planned to increase the composition of the DAR’s Adjudication Board’s full-time members from three to nine and upgrading their salaries. The budget of DAR therefore had to be increased to cover reorganization costs. The protection of ARBs whose lands were converted to commercial, industrial or residential use by making them shareholders or co-investors of the industrial/commercial venture was also one of CARP’s major agenda. Also, the CARP bureaucracy had to be motivated further for more successful results and its partnership at the provincial level with various government and non-government organizations, local government units, farmer beneficiaries, landowners, legislature, media and the academe has to be enhanced.
Strengthened coordination among agencies implementing CARP, the legislature, judiciary and LGUs were also being pursued. The use of an integrated and area-focused approach in implementing CARP through the ARCs remained a major strategy. Lastly, the Ramos administration emphasized that the various activities of CARP should be attuned to the modernization of agriculture and the promotion of industrialization in the country.
The Ramos Administration has set a target of 3.4 million hectares of land to be distributed to farmer-beneficiaries in which it was able to accomplish 2.6 million hectares or 33.3 percent of the total CARP scope of 7.8 million hectares. It has brought the total accomplishment for land acquisition and distribution at the end of brought the total accomplishment for land acquisition and distribution at the end of June 1998 to 4.7 million hectares or 60 percent of the scope.
The Ramos administration witnessed a surge in CARP implementation, achieving more than double the output of the previous Aquino Administration. This period accounts for more than of the total DAR output for the period 1972-2005.
One reason for the bigger output was the Ramos administration’s focus on “less contentious landholdings and acquisition modes.” Almost half of the CARP accomplishment of the Ramos presidency was in government-owned lands. His administration was able to accomplish the biggest of CARP’s land distribution targets since it chose to work with autonomous NGOs and peasant organizations.
The Ramos period from 1992-1998 was also the most stable politically and this enabled the government to focus economic development. Under his administration got the biggest accomplishment in land distribution under CARP, 52 percent over a period of 6 years. 
However, just like the previous administrations, controversies rose in his administration. In Sothern Tagalog Region, just Sounth of Manila, tens of thousands of hectares of agricultural land are undergoing “conversion” – the official metaphor for exclusion from land reform – leaving tens of thousands of hand-to-mouth farmers landless, restless and angry. Landlords openly harass peasants, driving them off their farms at gunpoint, fencing them out with barbed wire, bulldozing crops. Certificates of titles are worthless; in some areas they are confiscated. For all intents and purposes, land reform is dead, killed by the government’s consuming pre-occupation with becoming a NIC (newly industrializing country) by the year 2000. In 1992, DAR approved 866 of 1,200 applications for land-use conversion, removing 12, 047 hectares from land reform coverage.
3. Land Reform under Estrada Administration
The Estrada administration focused on fast tracking land acquisition and distribution (LAD). It aimed to reduce distortions and uncertainties in land market in the rural areas to be able to help increase farmers’ productivity and the private sector investment as well. Another major step was the intensification of the delivery of support services and social infrastructure to boost incomes of ARBs. It also prioritized the improvement and protection of the tenure status of stakeholders and the promotion of agri-industrialization in CARP areas through joint ventures, corporative, contact farming and other types of production and marketing arrangements. It also aimed for the completion of land parcel mappings covered by collective Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs). The Estrada administration also focused on the strengthening of the databases of the implementing agencies, i.e. DAR and DENR on the location of lands to cover and on the potential beneficiaries of CARP. It also promoted the use of market-based instruments in land distribution such as progressive agricultural land tax and direct land transfer. Lastly, the Estrada administration pursued to accelerate the resolutions of agrarian-related cases.
The Estrada administration has promised to complete the distribution of the CARP scope of 7.8 million hectares by 2004. From July 1998 to September 2000, the
total number of beneficiaries of CARP under the Estrada administration was 182,762.
Estrada Administration level of accomplishment was only 10 percent although President Estrada lasted only two-and-a-half years.
1. Brief Summary
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program as Section 3 of RA 6657 defined, as the “redistribution of lands, regardless of crops or fruits produced, to farmers and regular farm workers who are landless” and “all other arrangements alternative to the physical redistribution of lands, such as production or profit-sharing, labor administration and the distribution of shares of stock which will allow beneficiaries to receive a just share of the fruits of the lands they worked.”
Vast agricultural lands are distributed to the farmers tilling the land, whereas only a maximum of five hectares can be retained by the landlords and three hectares for each of their heir at least 15 years old and above.
However, a common CARP loophole was that landlords escaped relinquishing their lands through land reclassifications. Lands classified by local zoning ordinances as residential, commercial and industrial lands are excluded from CARP scope.
Criticism on Aquino’s Administration of land reform was the Stock Distribution Option of the Hacienda Luisita and was followed as an example of big other landowners. According to Borras, President Aquino was the first landlord to evade CARP. Not to mention that CARP was Aquino’s “centerpiece program” of her administration.
The biggest accomplishment in land distribution under CARP was during the administration of Ramos, which doubled the performance of the previous administration. But despite this success stories under his administration, just like the previous administration, loopholes and controversies rose where thousands of hand-to-mouth farmers were being harassed by the landlords driving them out of their farms and leave them nothing. Certificates of Titles were useless. It was for the purpose of becoming the NIC (newly Industrializing country) by the year 2000.
The administration of Estrada was two short to observe if land reform program is successful.
Though there are some success stories regarding land reform program, still, it could not cover the unsuccessful land reform program in other parts of the
. There are several factors contributing to the poor performance of CARP, according to Adriano, factors include: a) the slow pace in land survey process; b) backlogs in land registration; c)lack of support from landowners largely because of the slow processing of and low payment for their land; and d) cumbersome land acquisition and distribution process for each land type. Philippines
During Spanish time, agrarian structure of our country has long been a major problem. Previous Presidents has not satisfied the needs of the tenant’s maybe because the top officials were landlords themselves, so they made laws that has loopholes that are favorable to themselves. The promised genuine land reform had yet to be seen. But how long could this people – who only wanted a piece of land to till for a living would wait for a genuine land reform? Could they still lay their hopes on our government? If not, to whom?
Several other studies should be done; for this paper only had limited discussion covered and limited sources. First hand surveys should be done to examine further if CARP policies were truly done or just in paper. More research to broaden this subject matter.
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