SECTION 1. Declaration of Policy.—The State shall undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers who are landless to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof.
The State shall recognize the right of farmers, farmworkers, and landowners, as well as cooperatives, and other independent farmers’ organizations to participate in the planning, organization and management of the land reform program, and shall provide support to agriculture through appropriate technology and research, and through adequate financial, production, marketing, and other support services.
The State shall provide incentives for voluntary land-sharing. It may resettle landless farmers and farmworkers in its own agricultural estates which shall be distributed to them in the manner provided by law.
SECTION 2. Mandate.—The Department shall provide central direction and coordination to the national agrarian reform program extended to transform farm lessees and farm tenants into owner-cultivators of economic family-size farms to improve their living conditions.
The Department shall formulate and implement policies, plans and programs for the distribution and cultivation of all agricultural lands, including sugar and coconut lands, with the participation of farmers, farmworkers, landowners, cooperatives, and other independent farmers’ organizations. It shall provide leadership in developing support services to tenant-owners, farm managers, and other cultivators through appropriate research and development programs, and shall render adequate assistance in finance, marketing, production and other aspects of farm management.
SECTION 3. Powers and Functions.—To accomplish its mandate, the Department shall:
(1) Implement laws, programs and policies for the acquisition and distribution of all agricultural lands as provided by laws;
(2) Resettle landless farmers and farmworkers in government-owned agricultural estates which shall be distributed to them as provided by law;
(3) Recommend and provide incentives for voluntary sharing of lands by owners of agricultural lands;
(4) Acquire, determine the value, subdivide into family-size farms, develop and distribute to qualified tillers, actual occupants and displaced urban poor, private agricultural lands regardless of area and crops planted;
(5) Administer and dispose of, under a settlement scheme, all portions of the public domain declared as alienable and disposable lands for speedy distribution to and development by deserving and qualified persons who do not own any land and under such terms and conditions as the Department may prescribe, giving priority to qualified and deserving farmers in the province where such lands are located;
(6) Provide free legal assistance to farmers covered by agrarian reform and expedite the resolution of agrarian conflicts and land tenure problems either through conciliatory or adversary proceedings;
(7) Provide creative, responsive and effective information, education and communication programs and projects both for the tenant beneficiaries, landowners, the government and private sectors and the general public, thereby generating a broad spectrum of support and understanding of the new agrarian reform program;
(8) Strengthen agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations to a degree of national viability that would enable them to share in the shaping of government policies and institutionalize farmers’ participation in agrarian reform policy formulation, program implementation and evaluation;
(9) Promote the organization and development of cooperatives of agrarian reform beneficiaries and register the same;
(10) Implement all agrarian reform laws and for this purpose issue subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, and writs of execution of its orders, and decisions and other legal processes to ensure compliance from all parties concerned for successful and expeditious program implementation;
(11) Undertake land surveys on lands covered by agrarian reform, and issue patents to farmers covered by agrarian reform, both on private and public lands;
(12) Develop, implement and undertake alternative and innovative land development schemes and land tenure systems such as, but not limited to land consolidation, land forming, cooperative farming and agro-industrial estates;
(13) Approve or disapprove conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses such as residential and industrial conversions in accordance with the existing provisions of law;
(14) Undertake land use management studies;
(15) Compensate the landowners covered by agrarian reform;
(16) Integrate and synchronize program implementation of the Land Bank of the Philippines and other relevant civilian and military government and private entities involved and mandated to support the agrarian reform program through Inter-Agency Committees and Agrarian Reform Coordinating Councils; and
(17) Perform such other functions as may be provided by law.
SECTION 4. Organizational Structure.—The Department shall consist of the Office of the Secretary, the Undersecretary, the Assistant Secretary, the Services and Staff Bureaus, the Regional Offices, the Provincial Offices, and the Team Offices.