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MISSING CONTEXT: Duterte consistent in distributing land to farmers

Rappler
MISSING CONTEXT: Duterte consistent in distributing land to farmers
Land distribution under Duterte’s administration is a continuation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program of 1988. Data from the PSA show that Duterte’s term has distributed the smallest area of land since 2005.
At a glance
  • Claim: President Rodrigo Duterte has been consistently distributing land to farmers through the Department of Agrarian Reform throughout his term.
  • Rating: MISSING CONTEXT
  • The facts: Land distribution under Duterte’s administration is a continuation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program of 1988. Philippine Statistics Authority data show that Duterte’s term has the lowest land distribution output since 2005.
  • Why we fact-checked this: Jed Chan TV, which has made this claim, has over 1,180 subscribers on Youtube and over 200 videos uploaded since 2020. 
Complete details

On March 20, YouTube channel “Jed Chan TV” uploaded a video titled “Pres. Duterte, Nagbigay ng Lupa sa mga Magsasaka. Muling ipanag-utos sa DAR na Ipamigay na ang LUPA.” (President Duterte gives land to farmers. Once again orders the DAR to distribute land.)

The video began by denying the assertions of leftist groups, who continued to call for genuine agrarian reform in the Philippines. According to “Jed Chan TV,” DAR’s land distribution efforts, along with its provision of irrigation services for farmers, had been steadfast since the beginning of Duterte’s term.

At the 1:45 mark, the video claims that numerous farmers had been given land, and millions of funds had been allotted for farmers. To back up its claim, it flashed a series of 27 news headlines, without context, featuring DAR’s latest provisions and services. 

The channel has over 1,180 subscribers on Youtube and over 200 videos uploaded since 2020. 

The claims in the video are missing context. 

Land distribution under Duterte’s administration has been a continuation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of 1988. No new land distribution program has been established during his term.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that the Duterte administration has distributed the smallest area of land (in hectares) since 2005. The chart below shows the total area of distributed lands in the Philippines each year from 2005 to 2020. The figure for 2020 is preliminary. 

Teresita Tarlac, president of Task Force Mapalad (TFM) Negros Panay Chapter, said in February 2021 that the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) balance under President Duterte currently holds the lowest place in CARP history. Duterte’s administration distributed a total of 142,806 hectares or a yearly average of 28,561 hectares. In comparison, former president Fidel Ramos’ administration holds the highest record at a total distribution of 1,113,019 hectares, or a yearly average of 371,006 hectares.

Before assuming presidency, Duterte had expressed that the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law failed in empowering small farmers, according to a 2016 interview with Davao Today. Five years later, however, Duterte instructed DAR to speed up and finish the process of land distribution under CARP to quell insurgencies in provincial “hot bed” areas. 

Several of Duterte’s campaign promises are unfulfilled until now. Apart from his declarations of liberalizing credit, financing facilities, and providing support services for farmers, his vow to return the coco levy funds remains to be one of the most disappointing, especially for coconut farmers. (READ: Coco Levy Fund: Duterte’s Failed Promise)

Former Philippine agrarian reform secretary Rafael Mariano said that there was a need to re-evaluate and validate whether CARP beneficiaries remain in actual possession and control over awarded lands, recalling a 2017 DAR revalidation under his term wherein 83% of Hacienda Luisita ARBs were no longer in possession of awarded lands.

In his interview with Bulatlat, Mariano said: “It has been too easy for DAR to show off CLOA distributions as successes, but whether the farmers retain possession and control over the awarded lands long after the ceremonies is a wholly different matter.” – Vernise Tantuco, Danna Gonsalves/Rappler.com

Danna Gonsalves is a Rappler intern. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.

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