‘Carp comes to an end as Congress adjourns’-A A +A
Friday, June 13, 2014
WITH the adjournment of Congress Tuesday, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) is over.
“Congress has already adjourned and failed to pass (the bill extending it),” said Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., who has been opposing another extension of Carp that is set to expire by the end of the month.
On Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino III certified as urgent the passage of House Bill No. 4296 that will extend the land reform program for two more years to ensure the completion of its land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component.
Representative Alfredo Benitez (third district) said that Congress will resume in July during the President’s State of the Nation Address.
However, Congress can hold a special session if the President will call for it, he said.
Moreover, Marañon said that with the end of Carp, the country is seen to attract more investors and fully develop its agriculture potentials.
"I have been telling the Department of Agrarian Reform to concentrate on support services. Land distribution is easy but what is important is the welfare of the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs),” the governor said.
He added: “We should give them support services to uplift and alleviate their lives. A total of P150 billion was already spent on Carp but only about three percent of the ARBs have improved living conditions."
The governor had earlier appealed to congressmen and senators not to extend the Carp anymore.
“Agriculture is the strength of our nation and Carp has been detrimental to it," Marañon said.
Negros Occidental has the biggest LAD balance of 100,395 hectares among the 20 provinces that comprise the bulk of the nationwide balance of 422,440 hectares or 78 percent of the 539,666-hectare balance nationwide.
In certifying House 4296 as urgent, President Aquino said it is crucial to address the immediate need to extend the operation of the LAD program under the Carp.
“As a constitutionality mandated undertaking, it is imperative that the State ensure the completion of an agrarian reform program dedicated to the ideal of a just and equitable distribution of land among tenant farmers,” the President said.
He added that despite the Carp’s initial success in implementing agrarian reform, a substantial portion of the country’s agricultural lands remains beyond the program’s coverage.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 13, 2014.