MANILA – Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes asked the members of the committee on appropriations of the House of Representatives yesterday for compassion on the more than 7,000 employees to be affected by the DAR rationalization plan.
DAR has proposed a P21.4-billion budget for 2013, a government press release said.
De los Reyes said that in the planned reorganization plan of the DAR as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms Law expires in 2014, the welfare of the affected employees should be taken into consideration.
AA Kasosyo party-list Rep. Nasser Pangandaman, a former DAR secretary, expressed apprehension during the hearing that the department might not be able to finish the land distribution program of the government due to its impending reorganization, the press release said.
De los Reyes said there are 10,973 DAR employees nationwide.
Of these, only about 3,000 – or those involved in the delivery of social services – will be absorbed by the Department of Agriculture.
The more than 7,000 employees left will remain at the DAR to continue with its land distribution program until 2014, he said.
Currently, some 640,000 hectares are up for distribution under CARP. Delos Reyes said the DAR aims to distribute some 180,000 hectares for this year alone.
Some 260,000 hectares are scheduled for distribution in 2013. The balance of 200,000 hectares will be distributed from January-June 2014, he said.
De los Reyes noted that agrarian reform under the present administration is on track despite the huge challenges facing the program as the remaining lands to be distributed are the more contentious ones and require a longer and more tedious process to acquire and distribute.*PNA