Republic Act No. 6657

COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM LAW OF 1988
Republic Act No. 6657

CHAPTER I
PRELIMINARY CHAPTER

SEC. 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988“.

SEC. 2. Declaration of Principles and Policies. - It is the policy of the State to pursue a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The welfare of the landless farmers and farm workers will receive the highest consideration to promote social justice and to move the nation towards sound rural development and industrialization, and the establishment of owner cultivatorship of economic-sized farms as the basis of Philippine agriculture.

To this end, a more equitable distribution and ownership of land, with due regard to the rights of landowners to just compensation and to the ecological needs of the nation, shall be undertaken to provide farmers and farm workers with the opportunity to enhance their dignity and improve the quality of their lives through greater productivity of agricultural lands.

The agrarian reform program is founded on the right of farmers and regular farm workers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farm workers, to receive a share of the fruits thereof. To this end, the State shall encourage the just distribution of all agricultural lands, subject to the priorities and retention limits set forth in this Act, having taken into account ecological, developmental, and equity considerations, and subject to the payment of just compensation. The State shall respect the right of small landowners and shall provide incentives for voluntary land-sharing.

The State shall recognize the right of farmers, farm workers and landowners, as well as cooperatives and other independent farmers’ organization, to participate in the planning, organization, and management of the program, and shall provide support to agriculture through appropriate technology and research, and adequate financial, production, marketing and other support services.

The State shall apply the principles of agrarian reform or stewardship, whenever applicable, in accordance with law, in the disposition or utilization of other natural resources, including lands of the public domain, under lease or concession, suitable to agriculture, subject to prior rights, homestead rights of small settlers and the rights of indigenous communities to their ancestral lands.

The State may resettle landless farmers and farm workers in its own agricultural estates, which shall be distributed to them in the manner provided by law.

By means of appropriate incentives, the State shall encourage the formation and maintenance of economic-sized family farms to be constituted by individual beneficiaries and small landowners.

The State shall protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local communities, to the preferential use of communal marine and fishing resources, both inland and offshore. It shall provide support to such fishermen through appropriate technology and research, adequate financial, production and marketing assistance and other services, The State shall also protect, develop and conserve such resources. The protection shall extend to offshore fishing grounds of subsistence fishermen against foreign intrusion. Fishworkers shall receive a just share from their labor in the utilization of marine and fishing resources.

The State shall be guided by the principles that land has a social function and land ownership has a social responsibility. Owners of agricultural land have the obligation to cultivate directly or through labor administration the lands they own and thereby make the land productive.

The State shall provide incentives to landowners to invest the proceeds of the agrarian reform program to promote industrialization, employment and privatization of public sector enterprises. Financial instruments used as payment for lands shall contain features that shall enhance negotiability and acceptability in the marketplace.

The State may lease undeveloped lands of the public domain to qualified entities for the development of capital-intensive farms, traditional and pioneering crops especially those for exports subject to the prior rights of the beneficiaries under this Act.

SEC. 3. Definitions. - For the purpose of this Act, unless the context indicates otherwise:

a) Agrarian Reform means the redistribution of lands, regardless of crops or fruits produced, to farmers and regular farm workers who are landless, irrespective of tenurial arrangement, to include the totality of factors and support services designed to lift the economic status of the beneficiaries and all other arrangements alternative to the physical redistribution of lands, such as production or profit-sharing, labor administration, and the distribution of shares of stock which will allow beneficiaries to receive a just share of the fruits of the lands they work.

b) Agriculture, Agricultural Enterprise or Agricultural Activity means the cultivation of the soil, planting of crops, growing of fruit trees, including the harvesting of such farm products, and other farm activities and practices performed by a farmer in conjunction with such farming operations done by persons whether natural of juridical. (As amended by R. A. 7881)

c) Agricultural Land refers to land devoted to agricultural activity as defined in this Act and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial land.

d) Agrarian Dispute refers to any controversy relating to tenurial arrangements, whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship or otherwise, over lands devoted to agriculture, including disputes concerning farm workers’ associations or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of such tenurial arrangements.

It includes any controversy relating to compensation of lands acquired under this Act and other terms and conditions of transfer of ownership from landowners to farm workers, tenants and other agrarian reform beneficiaries, whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of farm operator and beneficiary, landowner and tenant, or lessor and lessee.

e) Idle or Abandoned Land refers to any agricultural land not cultivated, tilled or developed to produce any crop nor devoted to any specific economic purpose continuously for a period of three (3) years immediately prior to the receipt of notice of acquisition by the government as provided under this Act, but does not include land that has become permanently or regularly devoted to non-agricultural purposes. It does not include land which has become unproductive by reason of force majeure or any other fortuitous event: Provided, that prior to such event, such land was previously used for agricultural or other economic purposes.

f) Farmer refers to a natural person whose primary livelihood is cultivation of land or the production of agricultural crops either by himself, or primarily with the assistance of his immediate farm household, whether the land is owned by him, or by another person under a leasehold or share tenancy agreement or arrangement with the owner thereof.

g) Farmworker is a natural person who renders service for value as an employee or laborer in an agricultural enterprise or farm regardless of whether his compensation is paid on a daily, weekly, monthly or “pakyaw” basis. The term includes an individual whose work has ceased as a consequence of, or in connection with, a pending agrarian dispute who has not obtained a substantially equivalent and regular farm employment.

h) Regular Farmworker is a natural person who is employed on a permanent basis by an agricultural enterprise or farm.

i) Seasonal Farmworker is a natural person who is employed on a recurrent, periodic or intermittent basis by an agricultural enterprise or farm, whether as a permanent or a non-permanent laborer, such as “dumaan”, “sacada”, and the like.

j) Other Farmworker is a farmworker who does not fall under paragraphs (g), (h) and (i).

k) Cooperatives shall refer to organizations composed primarily of small agricultural producers, farmers, farm workers, or other agrarian reform beneficiaries who voluntarily organize themselves for the purpose of pooling land, human, technological, financial or other economic resources, and operated on the principle of one member, one vote. A juridical person may be a member of a cooperative, with the same rights and duties as a natural person.

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