The Lydia Maningat Estate is an 86-hectare property situated in the municipality of Tuy in the province of Batangas. Half of the 65 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) are tilling the land under leasehold agreement while the other half are still under tenancy. The farmers found out that the said property is untitled, therefore subjected for land acquisition and distribution. However, there was a concern whether the coverage should be taken by the Department of Agriculture (DAR) or by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Under the law, DAR is mandated to distribute private agricultural lands and government-owned lands in proclaimed settlements, while DENR is responsible for the alienable and disposable public lands suitable for agriculture.
In 2014, a joint administrative order by DAR and DENR was released. The objective of the joint administrative order is to define the limits of authority of the DAR and DENR in the coverage of untitled privately claimed agricultural land and its distribution in excess of the applicable titling limit on the ownership of public lands. The areas in excess of the applicable titling limit will be retained under the DENR’s jurisdiction.
With the new joint administrative order, a Notice of Coverage (NOC) was issued by DAR for the 12 out of the 86 hectares (ha) of the Maningat Estate. The excess area of 74 ha will be under the jurisdiction and disposal of the DENR.
In order to lay down concrete actions to be taken in the acquisition and distribution of the estate, CARRD organized a local Inter Agency Dialogue (IAD) between the farmers of Maningat with the provincial office of DAR in Batangas and in the municipality of Tuy and the office of the DENR through the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Batangas on 10 June. Thirty-two farmers, 3 representatives of DAR, and 2 representatives of CENRO participated in the local. IAD
The IAD concluded with an action plan with the following points:
- CARRD and DAR to meet again with CENRO to discuss the details in the preparation of documents (e.g. classification of land, boundary maps, survey reports and etc) needed to be to identify the portion of the land to be covered by DAR under CARP and by DENR through free patent arrangement;
- DAR through the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) with the assistance of CARRD’s PLVs will conduct field investigation to come up with official list of ARBs including the relatives of the original tenants who have been awarded rights; and
- Nagkakaisang Magsasaka ng Pilipinas (NAGKASAMA) MPC and CARRD to secure pertinent documents from the local government unit such as land taxes paid by the heirs of Lydia Maningat.