Farmers train as partners in CARP implementation
by Jose Alsmith Soria
Tacloban City (September 25) -- Considering the vital role the Barangay Agrarian Reform Council (BARC) plays in the successful implementation of the government's Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) required members of the said body to undergo a four-day training to get acquainted with their functions.
Under Republic Act No. 9700 or the amended Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law which took effect last year, the fate of agrarian reform beneficiaries lies on the BARC as section 7 of this law states, "only tenants or lessees and regular farmworkers actually tilling the lands as certified under oath by the BARC and attested under oath by the landowners will qualify as beneficiaries of the program".
For an effective and efficient implementation of the program particularly on land acquisition and distribution, DAR Regional Director Alexis Arsenal said that BARC members should know their duties and responsibilities.
Aside from the amended provisions in the new agrarian reform law, most members of the BARC now are also new and need to be oriented of their functions.
Other functions of the BARC include mediation between parties involved in an agrarian dispute in their area; attests to the accuracy of the initial parcellary mapping; provides information for the determination of fixed rental on leasehold agreement and in the determination of initial land valuation; assists in the identification of lands for coverage under land distribution; conducts information dissemination on the beneficiaries' rights and responsibilities; and participates in the planning and implementation of agrarian reform programs in the community level.
Early this month, the first batch composed of some 30 BARC members from the different farming villages of Alngalang, Leyte completed the course. More BARC members from other parts of Region-8 are scheduled to undergo the same in October.
A BARC is organized in every barangay to serve as the main partner of DAR at the community level for a successful CARP implementation. However, Arsenal emphasized that under Executive Order No. 229 BARC shall operate on a self-help basis.
To avoid bias in the performance of their duties, BARC is composed of representatives from different sectors which include land transfer beneficiaries, agricultural lessees, integrated social forestry (ISF) beneficiaries, amortizing owners, ordinary farmerworkers, agricultural cooperatives, rural women, indigenous people and landowners group as voting members who will elect among themselves a chairman and vice-chairman.
Meanwhile, one personnel-representative each from the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO), Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO), Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Barangay Council, Non-Government Organization and Municipal Planning Development Office will serve as ex-officio non voting members. (PIA-8) [top]