Palace to farmers: Let’s help each other on agrarian reform-A A +A
Monday, June 4, 2012
MALACAÑANG asked farmers groups on Monday to help the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) determine the areas where the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) are not yet implemented.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte made the appeal to farmers following criticisms of the administration’s apparent “ineffective and snail-paced” implementation of land distribution under Carp with reforms (Carper).
“From our end, what we can do to help is to ask the places where they said the Carp has not yet been implemented,” Valte said.
She said the agrarian reform department should first check if the places fall properly under Carp and what progress has been made so far.
Valte denied allegations of President Benigno Aquino III’s supposed lack of interest in the matter, saying Agrarian Reform Secretary Gil delos Reyes has been constantly updating Malacañang about the land distribution.
“They seem to be making rapid progress,” Valte said on DAR’s performance.
Several farmers groups trooped last Friday to the DAR office to air dismay over the government’s “slow” completion of the agrarian reform program.
At least 5,200 farmers from Negros Island, Mindanao and Luzon planned to have days-long protest from June 1 to June 10, which is the 24th anniversary of Carp.
Save Agrarian Reform Alliance (Sara) said in a statement that agrarian reform, especially land distribution is “languishing” under the administration of Aquino.
The group described the Carp performance as "worst since 1988," the year Carp took effect.
“Napakabagal ni PNoy at delos Reyes sa pagpapatupad ng repormang agraryo. Usad-pagong ang Caper, dalawang taon na lang ang natitira bago ang deadline ng distribusyon ng lupa sa June 2014 (Aquino and delos Reyes are very slow in implementing agrarian reforms. Caper is moving at turtle pace. There are only two years left before the deadline of the distribution of lands on June 2014),” said Trinidad Domingo, spokesperson of Sara.
Carper primarily extends the land distribution program of Carp by five years.
Domingo said their group’s worry is that Carp is not a priority of the administration.
“It’s (Aquino administration) Carp performance was a mere five-percent share of land distribution output compared with the Ramos administration’s 46 percent, Arroyo’s 23 percent, and Cory Aquino’s 21 percent. The current administration's performance is even worse than the Estrada administration’s 5.4 percent, which distributed lands for about the same period of two years,” the group said.
Sara questioned whether the lands reported as distributed have been actually given to agrarian reform beneficiaries and that these beneficiaries have the land titles in their hands, and that they are being provided with appropriate support services such as access to socialized credit, irrigation, among others.
“Time is running out, but before it does, the farmers from Sara will not be found merely waiting for what will not happen under this government. The farmers have vowed to claim what is theirs under Carper, under the Philippine Constitution,” the group said.
Valte said the Palace will let the farmers groups conduct their protests. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)