AGRARIAN REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT:
THE CORDILLERA EXPERIENCE
JOELYNDA PASTOR FOYAGAN/JANE DELFIN-TORIBIO, PHD./ADELA DAMASO COMILA
DAR-Cordillera/MARO-Kapangan, Benguet/MARO-Buguias-Mankayan, Benguet, respectively
In the third world countries, particularly in the Philippines, the socio-economic, structural and other development interventions are mostly concentrated in the urban areas. Growth in the rural areas are neglected, or in some cases, ignored. Most of the third world countries channel their resources in developing the global cities in order to compete or have equal footing with mega cities in the developed countries.
The Philippines is still an agricultural country with the rural areas as their backbones. Still, 80% Filipinos in the rural areas are living in poverty. It is crucial, therefore, to focus on bridging the gap and sustain the growth in the rural communities to catch up with the fast developing urban areas.
Particularly, the poorest of the poor in the country are the landless indigenous peoples living in highly fragile and vulnerable ecosystems like the Cordillera. This region is home to about 2% of the Philippine population, where 90% are indigenous people collectively known as the Igorots. Though Cordillera is one of the richest in terms of natural resources, the Igorots have limited access to their ancestral lands. Even considered as “squatters of their own land”, the government classified their lands to be under the forest reserves and national parks. However, the evolution of agrarian reform programs had somehow perfected the ownership of at least 220,000 indigenous peoples covering more than 89,000 hectares under its land tenure improvement programs. In recognition, these programs have spurred rural growth in terms of developing the farm-to-market roads, irrigation facilities and other infrastructures, not excluding agricultural and institutional development of the indigenous peoples.
JOELYNDA P. FOYAGAN is presently the Provincial Coordinator for Abra and Mt. Province of the Department of Agrarian Reform of the Cordillera Administrative Region. As such, she coordinates the speedy and smooth implementation of the Land Tenure Program in the provinces covered. Being the program analyst at the Operations Division, she identifies, validates and prioritizes the landholdings for CARP coverage according to program type and phase of implementation. Among others, she does program planning on land acquisition and distribution of lands in the region as well as assists in the conduct of field investigation and provision of pertinent data for valuation of compensable lands. Aside from that, monitoring of the project is also her task while she conducts information drives and campaign on CARP to walk-in clients of the office.
Born in November 16, 1965 in Baguio City, she spent her elementary up to college education in this premier center of education in the North. She took up Associate in Geodetic Engineering at Baguio Colleges Foundation and graduated Bachelor of Science in Education at the Baguio Central University. Her experiences worth mentioning include her being a Head Executive Assistant to the PARO from 1995 to 2001. Presently, her assignment at the Operations Division of DAR-CAR in Baguio City give her opportunities to be one of the contributors of the Cordillera Agrarian Voice and other DAR News letters and issuances.
For more information, she can be contacted through her email address: email@example.com and her mobile number at 09258080868.