The Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titles (SPLIT) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) will only aggravate landlessness in the countryside, said the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in a statement last September 7. The program will be funded using an ₱18.3-billion loan from the World Bank. It is set to cover nearly 1.4 million hectares of agricultural land being tilled by approximately one million farmers.
SPLIT does not plainly aim to distribute land titles to farmers. Contrary to its name, the program actually aims to pave the way for the reconcentration of land into the hands of big companies to construct their mega farms. Decades of KMP’s struggles prove that farmers granted certificates of land ownership award often lose their claim through loopholes in the law, violence and deception. Anomalous schemes of land reconcentration implemented by landlords such as the ariendo system are prevalent.
The Mega Farms and Food Security Program of DA is also set to aggravate hunger among peasant families. The said program aims to “cooperativize” farmers who own small parcels of land to engage in special production of high-value export crops in 50-hectare mega farms. This is related to the program being pushed by the Asian Development Bank which aims to make farmers transition to planting cash crops, especially rice farmers who went bankrupt due to rice import liberalization.