Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 (Republic Act No. 6657). | Land Portal

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The Act consists of 78 sections, divided into 15 Chapters.(A) Policy Framework. It is the stated policy of the state to see to the welfare of the landless farmers and farmworkers, and to establish the owner-cultivatorship of economic-size farms as the basis of Philippine agriculture. To this end, and Agrarian Reform Program which is based on the right of landless farmers and farmworkers to own the land they till, or to receive a fair share of the fruits of their labour. The Program seeks to achieve this essentially through the redistribution of agricultural lands, subject to the payment of just compensation of dispossessed landowners (sect. 2). Agricultural land allocations shall be made for ideal family-size farms as determined by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC)(B) Coverage, Land acquisition and distribution programme. In principle, all lands given over to or suitable for agriculture, whether in the public or private domain, and whether held by individuals or corporations - including in particular multinational corporations - are eligible for redistribution through the Program (sects. 4 and 8). However, landowners may retain parcels of land the size of which may vary according to criteria to be laid down by the PARC, but in no case exceeding five hectares. Additional allowances are made for the children of landowners. Acts of disposition of private lands made by landowners in violation of the above limits are automatically null and void (sect. 6). A schedule is provided for the phased implementation of the program of acquisition of all eligible agricultural lands over a ten-year time frame.Implementation is to be carried out in three phases, in accordance with a given order of priorities established according to kind, size, and nature of the tenurial status of the lands (sects. 5, 7 and 8). Commercial farming operations, however, are scheduled to come under the acquisition and distribution program only ten years after the coming into effect of the Act (sect. 11). A number of exemptions and exclusions from the purview of the statute are provided for in respect to designated categories of land (sect. 10), while special guarantees are written in for the protection of the interests of indigenous cultural communities (sect. 9). For the purposes of the land acquisition and distribution program, all landowners and all lessees, tenants, and farmworkers are to register with the Government within a set deadline (sect. 14).(C) Land Acquisition and distribution mechanisms. Land can be acquired for distribution subject to just compensation to the landowner. The amount of compensation is a subject of negotiation between the Government and the landowner or, failing this, for the courts to settle through litigation (sect. 16). Broad criteria govern the determination of what constitutes just compensation (sect. 17). Compensation is payable in cash, stocks, tax credits, or Land Band of the Philippines bonds (sect. 18). Landless farmers - i.e., those who own less than three hectares of agricultural land (sect. 25 (2)) - are eligible for distribution of land according to a given priority order of categories of farmers.A basic condition of all awards under the program is that the beneficiaries must be willing to, and capable of, cultivating the land under penalty of forfeiting the land (sect. 22). All beneficiaries under the program cannot be awarded more than three hectares of land (sects. 23 and 25([1]), and lands so awarded are to be repaid in 30 annual amortizations at six percent interest rate per annum (sect. 26). Restrictions apply to the transferability of lands awarded under the program: such lands cannot be conveyed except through hereditary succession, or the Government, the Land Bank of the Philippines, or other qualified beneficiaries, for a period of ten years (sect. 27). Special rules are made for the distribution of lands belonging to corporate farms. In principle, such lands are to be distributed directly to farmworkers either individually or jointly as a workers' cooperative (sect. 29). Pending final transfer of the land, farmworkers shall be entitled to receive three percent of the gross sales from the production of such lands over and above their regular salary (sect. 32).(D) Program Implementation Measures. Support services in such fields as irrigation and infrastructure development, credit, marketing, research, and extension are to be provided to beneficiaries of the program and landowners, under the aegis of the Department of Agrarian Reform (sects. 35-38). A Presidential Agrarian Reform Council is established to guide and orient in the implementation of the Agrarian Program.Provincial Agrarian Reform Committees are established in each province, to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the program. Agrarian Reform Committees are also to be established at the Barabgay level of government, to generally assist in program implementation, and to mediate agrarian disputes (sects. 41-49).(E) Administrative Adjudication and Judicial Review. The Department of Agrarian Reform is to have original jurisdiction over all disputes arising under the agrarian reform program, and the Department's decisions may be reviewed by the Court of Appeals. In addition, Special Agrarian Courts to be appointed by the Supreme Court at the provincial level will be competent to hear all cases concerning just compensation to landowners, and to prosecute criminal offences.

Amended by: Act to amend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 (Republic Act No. 7881). (1995-02-20)
Amended by: Republic Act No. 9700 amending Republic Act No. 6657 on the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law 1988. (2009-07-27)

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