Farm workers hold rally vs Carp extension today

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Monday, June 9, 2014


A GROUP of farm workers in Negros Occidental is opposing the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) after the Carp Extension with Reforms expires this month.

Kusog sang Obrero-Negros, a province-wide organization of agricultural workers, is holding a rally at the Capitol grounds today (June 9) to seek the support of provincial officials headed by Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. in relaying their opposition to another Carp extension before the National Government and members of Congress.

“The Carp has done little to alleviate the plight of farmers. It has, in fact, led to the deterioration of vast agricultural lands that used to be productive. And worse, Carp led to the demise of many of our peers as farmers turned against their fellow farmers,” said Kusog-Negros leader Ernesto Ambil of Barangay Guiljungan, Cauayan in a press statement.

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He added that the 2,000-strong Kusog-Negros will ask the governor to help them relay their sentiments to Congress leaders that they are against House Bill Nos. 3305 and 3306 crafted by Reps. Rufus and Maximo Rodriguez, respectively.

They also oppose House Bill 4296, co-authored by Reps. Cresente Paez and Teddy Brawner Baguilat, and Senate Bill 2188 of Sen. Gregorio Honasan II, which propose another Carp extension.

“We are hoping that we will have the chance to meet with the governor because he knows the dynamics in Congress being a former congressman,” Ambil said.

He added that there is no reason to pursue another Carp extension because it is very clear that the land reform program failed to improve the conditions of people in agrarian reform communities (ARCs) and even farmers in non-ARC areas.

“Instead, agricultural workers who turned into agrarian reform beneficiaries or ARBs are much poorer today, and are heavily indebted because they cannot afford to pay taxes and meet their credit amortization,” Ambil said.

He pointed out that these findings and observations by experts and policy-makers had been published in many periodicals, news sites and even in the website of Congress, both the House and the Senate, which clearly showed that after more than 20 years of implementing the Carp, it contributed little to take farmers out of poverty.

Ambil also said that many ARBs had turned against their fellow ARBs over boundary issues and some heated quarrels regarding Carp led to the killing of farmers.

“We are, therefore, appealing to President Aquino and to our leaders in Congress that for the good of the farmers, and for the good of the agriculture sector, let us end the land reform implementation that has already spent about P137 billion in 2007 with negligible results as pointed out by economists and policy experts,” Ambil said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 09, 2014.

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