COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM LAW OF 1988
Republic Act No. 6657
SEC. 4. Scope. – The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 shall cover, regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced, all public and private agricultural lands as provided in Proclamation No. 131 and Executive Order No. 229, including other lands of the public domain suitable for agriculture.
More specifically, the following lands are covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program:
a) All alienable and disposable lands of the public domain devoted to or suitable for agriculture. No reclassification of forest or mineral lands to agricultural lands shall be undertaken after the approval of this Act until Congress, taking into account ecological, developmental and equity considerations, shall have determined by law, the specific limits of the public domain;
b) All lands of the public domain in excess to the specific limits as determined by Congress in the preceding paragraph;
c) All other lands owned by the Government devoted to or suitable for agriculture; and
d) All private lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture regardless of the agricultural products raised or that can be raised thereon.
SEC. 5. Schedule of Implementation. – The distribution of all lands covered by this Act shall be implemented immediately and completed within ten (10) years from the effectivity thereof.
SEC. 6. Retention Limits. – Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no person may own or retain, directly, any public or private agricultural land, the size of which shall vary according to factors governing a viable family-sized farm, such as commodity produced, terrain, infrastructure, and soil fertility as determined by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) created hereunder, but in no case shall the retention by the landowner exceed five (5) hectares. Three (3) hectares may be awarded to each child of the landowner, subject to the following qualifications: (1) that he is at least fifteen (15) years of age; and (2) that he is actually tilling the land or directly managing the farm: Provided, That landowners whose lands have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be allowed to keep the area originally retained by them thereunder; Provided, further, That original homestead grantees or direct compulsory heirs who still own the original homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same areas as long as they continue to cultivate said homestead.
The right to choose the area to be retained, which shall be compact or contiguous, shall pertain, to the landowner: Provided, however, That in case the area selected for retention by the landowner is tenanted, the tenant shall have the option to choose whether to remain therein or be a beneficiary in the same or another agricultural land with similar or comparable features. In case the tenant chooses to remain in the retained area, he shall be considered a leaseholder and shall lose his right to be a beneficiary under this Act. In case the tenant chooses to be a beneficiary in another agricultural land, he loses his right as a leaseholder to the land retained by the landowner. The tenant must exercise this option within a period of one (1) year from the time the landowner manifests his choice of the area for retention.
In all cases, the security of tenure of the farmers or farm workers on the land prior to the approval of this Act shall be respected.
Upon the effectivity of this Act, any sale, disposition, lease, management contract or transfer of possession of private lands executed by the original landowner in violation of this Act shall be null and void: Provided, however, That those executed prior to this Act shall be valid only when registered with the Register of Deeds within a period of three (3) months after the effectivity of this Act . Thereafter, all Registers of Deeds shall inform the DAR within thirty (30) days of any transaction involving agricultural lands in excess of five (5) hectares.
SEC. 7. Priorities. – The DAR, in coordination with the PARC shall plan and program the acquisition and distribution of all agricultural lands through a period of ten (10) years from the effectivity of this Act. Lands shall be acquired and distributed as follows:
Phase One: Rice and corn lands under Presidential Decree No. 27; all idle or abandoned lands; all private lands voluntarily offered by the owners for agrarian reform; all lands foreclosed by government financial institution; all lands acquired by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG); and all other lands owned by the government devoted to or suitable for agriculture, which shall be acquired and distributed immediately upon the effectivity of this Act, with the implementation to be completed within a period of not more than four (4) years;
Phase two: All alienable and disposable public agricultural lands; all arable public agricultural lands under agro-forest, pasture and agricultural leases already cultivated and planted to crops in accordance with Section 6, Article XIII of the Constitution; all public agricultural lands which are to be opened for new development and resettlement; and all private agricultural lands in excess of fifty (50) hectares, insofar as the excess hectarage is concerned, to implement principally the right of farmers and regular farm workers, who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till, which shall be distributed immediately upon the effectivity of this Act, with the implementation to be completed within a period of not more than four (4) years.
Phase Three: All other private agricultural lands commencing with large landholdings and proceeding to medium and small landholdings under the following schedule:
a) Landholdings above twenty-four (24) hectares up to fifty (50) hectares, to begin on the fourth (4th) year from the effectivity of this Act and to be completed within three (3) years; and
b) Landholdings from the retention limit up to twenty-four (24) hectares, to begin on the sixth (6th) year from the effectivity of this Act and to be completed within four (4) years; to implement principally the right of farmers and regular farmworkers who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till.
The schedule of acquisition and redistribution of all agricultural lands covered by this program shall be made in accordance with the above order of priority, which shall be provided in the implementing rules to be prepared by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), taking into consideration the following: the need to distribute lands to the tiller at the earliest practicable time; the need to enhance agricultural productivity; and the availability of funds and resources to implement and support the program.
In any case, the PARC, upon recommendation by the Provincial Agrarian Reform Coordinating Committee (PARCCOM), may declare certain provinces or regions as priority land reform areas, in which case the acquisition and distribution of private agricultural lands therein may be implemented ahead of the above schedules. In effecting the transfer within these guidelines, priority must be given to lands that are tenanted.
The PARC shall establish guidelines to implement the above priorities and distribution scheme, including the determination of who are qualified beneficiaries: Provided, That an owner-tiller may be a beneficiary of the land he does not own but is actually cultivating to the extent of the difference between the area of the land he owns and the award ceiling of three (3) hectares.
SEC. 8. Multinational Corporations. – All lands of the public domain leased, held or possessed by multinational corporations or associations, and other lands owned by the government or government-owned or controlled corporations, associations, institutions or entities, devoted to existing and operational agribusiness or agro-industrial enterprises, operated by multinational corporations and associations, shall be programmed for acquisition and distribution immediately upon the effectivity of this Act, with the implementation to be completed within three (3) years.
Lands covered by the paragraph immediately preceding, under lease, management, grower or service contracts, and the like, shall be disposed of as follows:
a) Lease, management, grower or service contracts covering such lands covering an aggregate area in excess of 1,000 hectares, leased or held by foreign individuals in excess of 500 hectares are deemed amended to confirm with the limits set forth in Section 3 of Article XIII of the Constitution.
b) Contracts covering areas not in excess of 1,000 hectares in the case of such individuals shall be allowed to continue under their original terms and conditions but not beyond August 29, 1992, or their valid termination, whichever comes sooner, after which, such agreements shall continue only when confirmed by the appropriate government agency. Such contracts shall likewise continue even after the land has been transferred to beneficiaries or awardees thereof, which transfer shall be immediately commenced and implemented within the period of three (3) years mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof.
c) In no case will such leases and other agreements now being implemented extend beyond August 29, 1992, when all lands subject hereof shall have been distributed completely to qualified beneficiaries or awardees. Such agreements can continue thereafter only under a new contract between the government or qualified beneficiaries or awardees, on the one hand, and said enterprises, on the other.
Lands leased, held or possessed by multinational corporations, owned by private individuals and private non-governmental corporations, associations, institutions, and entities, citizens of the Philippines, shall be subject to immediate compulsory acquisition and distribution upon the expiration of the applicable lease, management grower of service contract in effect as of August 29, 1987, or otherwise, upon its valid termination, whichever comes sooner, but not later than after ten (10) years following the effectivity of this Act . However, during the said period of effectivity, the government shall take steps to acquire these lands for immediate distribution thereafter.
In general, lands shall be distributed directly to the individual worker-beneficiaries. In case it is not economically feasible and sound to divide the land, then they shall form a workers’ cooperative or association which will deal with the corporation or business association or any other proper party, for the purpose of entering into a lease or growers agreement and for all other legitimate purposes. Until a new agreement is entered into by and between the workers’ cooperative or association and the corporation or business association or any other proper party, any agreement existing at the time this Act takes effect between the former and the previous landowner shall be respected by both the workers’ cooperative or association and the corporation, business association or such other proper party. In no case shall the implementation or application of this Act justify or result in the reduction of status or diminution of any benefits received or enjoyed by the worker-beneficiaries, or in which they may have a vested right, at the time this Act becomes effective.
The provision of Section 32 of this Act, with regard to production and income-sharing shall apply to farms operated by multinational corporations.
During the transition period, the new owners shall be assisted in their efforts to learn modern technology in production. Enterprises which show a willingness and commitment and good faith efforts to impart voluntarily such advanced technology will be given preferential treatment where feasible.
In no case shall a foreign corporation, association, entity or individual enjoy any rightr or privileges better than those enjoyed by a domestic corporation, association, entity or individual.
SEC. 9. Ancestral Lands. – For purposes of this Act, ancestral lands of each indigenous cultural community shall include, but not be limited to, lands in the actual, continuous and open possession and occupation of the community and its members: Provided, That the Torrens System shall be respected.
The right of these communities to their ancestral lands shall be protected to ensure their economic, social and cultural well-being. In line with the other principles of self-determination and autonomy, the systems of land ownership, land use, and the modes of settling land disputes of all these communities must be recognized and respected.
Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the PARC may suspend the implementation of this Act with respect to ancestral lands for the purpose of identifying and delineating such lands: Provided, That in the autonomous regions, the respective legislatures may enact their own laws on ancestral domain subject to the provisions of the Constitution and the principles enunciated in this Act and other national laws.
SEC. 10. Exemptions and Exclusions.-
a) Lands actually, directly and exclusively used for parks, wildlife, forest reserves, reforestation, fish sanctuaries and breeding grounds, watersheds and mangroves shall be exempt from the coverage of this Act.
b) Private lands actually, directly and exclusively used for prawn farms and fishponds shall be exempt from the coverage of this Act: Provided, That said prawn farms and fishponds have not been distributed and Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) issued under the Agrarian Reform Program.
In cases where the fishponds or prawn farms have been subjected to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, by voluntary offer to sell, or commercial farms deferment or notices of compulsory acquisition, a simple and absolute majority of the actual regular workers or tenants must consent to the exemption within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act. When the workers or tenants do not agree to this exemption, the fishponds or prawn farms shall be distributed collectively to the worker-beneficiaries or tenants who shall form cooperative or association to manage the same.
In cases where the fishponds or prawn farms have not been subjected to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the consent of the farmworkers shall no longer be necessary; however, the provision of Section 32-A hereof on incentives shall apply.
c) Lands actually, directly and exclusively used and found to be necessary for national defense, school sites and campuses, including experimental farm stations operated by public or private schools for educational purposes, seeds and seedlings research and pilot production center, church sites and convents appurtenant thereto, mosque sites and Islamic centers appurtenant thereto, communal burial grounds and cemeteries, penal colonies and penal farms actually worked by the inmates, government and private research and quarantine centers and all lands with eighteen percent (18%) slope and over, except those already developed, shall be exempt from the coverage of this Act.(As amended by R. A. 7881)
SEC. 11. Commercial Farming. – Commercial farms which are private agricultural lands devoted to salt beds, fruit farms, orchards, vegetable and cut-flower farms, and cacao, coffee and rubber plantations, shall be subject to immediate compulsory acquisition and distribution after ten (10) years from the effectivity of this Act. In the case of new farms, the ten-year period shall begin from the first year of commercial production and operation, as determined by the DAR. During the ten-year period, the Government shall initiate steps necessary to acquire these lands, upon payment of just compensation for the land and the improvements thereon, preferably in favor of organized cooperatives or associations, which shall thereafter manage the said lands for the workers-beneficiaries.(As amended by R. A. 7881)