Abolish Department of Agrarian Reform

Decades after the landmark land distribution law of the land to the tiller program, peasants are not better off financially compared to their income status under abusive landlords. The Philippines remains a rice importing nation in spite of hundreds of thousands of hectares distributed to farmers. The only crowning achievement of the said legislation and subsequent follow up laws is a BLOATED BUREAUCRACY that employs thousands of regular employees and contractuals (many among them with no real experience in farming).

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) while professing beatitudes in behalf of the rural poor that directly work the soil is actually beholden to big landlords who are granted exemptions or find ways to circumvent the law by padding the lists of the rightful beneficiaries or implementing ways to still manage, control, administer and subsequently reacquire distributed pieces of land. Officials of DAR actively connive to covert agricultural land for residential, commercial and industrial use.

Need we still wonder why we can not achieve food security when all around us we see low cost housing or high end subdivisions that provide endless cash flow to land developers many of whom are among the richest Filipinos. There is indeed grease money that goes around to government officials, legislators, security forces and the judiciary.

In the final analysis, it is the common folks that are deprived means of livelihood where a significant number find their way to urban centers to populate slums in the hope of seeking employment.

A cost-benefit analysis would show that for the billions of pesos poured into DAR, money could have better been spent with fewer employees and staying true to the cause of peasant emancipation with the necessary technical support services rather than their current pro landlord and big land developer orientation that resulted in poor farmers and national food scarcity.

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