DAR holds stakeholders forum on land use conversion
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) just recently convened the First National Stakeholders Forum on Land Use Conversion as the agency aims to identify the urgent issues and policy concerns regarding land use conversion.
The Forum was led by Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance (BALA) Director Celestina Manlagnit-Tam and Agrarian Legal Sector (ALS) Head Undersecretary Luis M.C. Pañgulayan.
Pañgulayan in his welcome remarks noted the timeliness of the forum since the Department needs to identify the urgent issues and policy concerns regarding land use conversion.
The Forum, which he expects to be the just the first of a series of discussions among the stakeholders from the public and private sectors, become more relevant since the guidelines on conversion under DAR Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 1, Series of 2002 have not been re-examined for the past fifteen years.
According to DAR, the inputs in the discussion are crucial as the agency starts the Policy Review and Formulation Committee (PRFC), which aims to look and audit the policy and procedures on conversion of agricultural lands.
During the open forum of the conference, the discussion centered on the need to ensure the primacy of the land acquisition and distribution process, and at the same time, address the needs for progress and development through the conversion of lands only in specific and meritorious cases.
The farmers’ groups present in the forum asserted the primacy of the land acquisition and distribution versus land use conversion.
The Directors of the various DAR Regional Offices were in attendance during the two-day affair. Representatives from the major CARP Implementing Agencies were also present.
The Forum shall be re-convened in February 2018.