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WB approves $370-M loan for CARP

By  CHINO S. LEYCO

The World Bank approved a $370 million loan to the Philippine government to improve the land tenure security and stable property rights under the comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP).

In a statement, the Washington-based lender said the $370-million loan for the Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) project will facilitate land titles for over 1.3 million hectares for around 750,000 people.

According to the World Bank, the project is designed to accelerate the subdivision of collective Certificates of Land Ownership Award and generate individual titles on lands awarded under the CARP.

“Many farmers who were granted lands under the country’s agrarian reform program have been waiting for
individual titles, sometimes for decades,” Achim Fock, World Bank Acting Country Director for Philippines said.

“This project will provide them the opportunity, on a voluntary basis, to get legal proof and the security of individual land rights. We expect that this will encourage them to invest in their property and adopt better technologies for greater productivity and higher incomes,” he added.

Fock said that improved land tenure security would contribute to poverty reduction and rural economic growth and strengthen farmers’ resilience against impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Due to the economic slowdown, subsistence farmers are at a significant risk of falling deeper into poverty,” Fock said.

“Many of them lack social security, savings, and access to formal financing. With individual land titles, beneficiaries will have greater access to credit and financing, as well as government assistance,” he added.

The Philippines has an extensive history of inequitable land tenure. Beginning with the Spanish colonial period from 1565-1898, large private estates dominated the rural landscape.

Farmers cultivated the land under share-cropping arrangements, with neither freedom to choose the crops they grew nor the option to own the land they tilled.

By 1980, 60 percent of the agricultural population was landless, many of them poor.

To rectify this pervasive land tenure inequality, the Congress passed the agrarian reform law in 1988 and implemented the CARP to improve the lives of small farmers by offering them land tenure security and support services.

Over the past three decades, CARP has distributed 4.8 million hectares – 16 percent of the nation’s land – to almost three million beneficiaries. However, only approximately 53 percent of lands were distributed in the form of individual titles.

Especially in the 1990s, the government issued mostly collective land ownership awards to speed up land distribution, with the intention of subdividing and titling them individually at a future time.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://business.mb.com.ph/2020/06/28/wb-approves-370-m-loan-for-carp/)

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