CEBU has over 9,000 hectares of land to be distributed to farmers if the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) is passed, according to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
The group is pushing for the GARB as a solution to end the land monopoly of “hacienderos” (land owners) across the country.
In a press conference the other day at the Bayan 7 office in Barangay Parian, Cebu City, KMP called for the replacement of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Since CARP was signed by then president Corazon Aquino on June 10, 1988, the KMP observed that the program has been “crawling” towards its vision, or it has yet to be fully implemented.
KMP thinks it's better to just replace CARP rather than wait for its full implementation.
House Bill 252 or GARB is authored by Anakpawis partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap.
KMP believes that this bill is the key to the fair distribution of land among the landless.
KMP spokesperson and acting chairman Angelito Siaboc said that Cebu has over 9,000 hectares of land grabbed by abusive land owners.
If GARB is passed, the land will be confiscated by the government and distributed to the farmers.
The land owner will be compensated.
Siaboc said that there is no other law that will serve as an alternative solution to land distribution, except for GARB.
According to KMP, CARP has been there in the last 27 years, but the landless have yet to see its effects.
“CARP is slow to help the farmers. Thus, it is slowly killing us farmers because we could not own the land that was taxed with the blood of our ancestors,” said Siaboc.
“Our advocacy as KMP farmers is to end the monopoly because owning land would serve as the livelihood of the farmers,” said Rosadelma Bulahan, acting treasurer of KMP-Cebu. (Florencio V. Cagalitan Jr., Palompon Institute of Technology AB Comm Intern)