AND it’s the blood of the very target of the program, the poor farmers and farm workers, which overshadows this year’s celebration of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the agency that is mandated to lead the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp).
What a hypocritical sense for the DAR leadership to call for a nationwide celebration of the 31st year of the Carp.
What is there to celebrate in the first place?
If the DAR’s reason for celebration is their accomplishments, then I must say it is nothing but bragging event of DAR officials and their program managers and supervisors mutually admiring each other over matters they alone understand and appreciate.
Every year, DAR boasts of its land tenure improvement accomplishment, delivery of support services to agrarian reform beneficiaries, organizing of beneficiaries into cooperatives and the payment of the landowners for their lands offered for Carp coverage -- but it never admits its significant role in the countless cases of exclusion of real beneficiaries from the lands they tilled and built their lives for generations.
DAR never admits culpability in numerous cases of delays in land takeover and CLOA release, in the countless bloody land disputes, in widespread reports about DAR offices down the municipal offices being made as money-making conduits of crook and greedy DAR officials in cahoots with landed elites, land speculators and real estate developers, and commercial banks.
Despite big claims of success in land tenure and support services by DAR, more than 60 percent of agrarian reform beneficiaries have already returned their lands to their former landlords, under lease by big agro-chemical commercial farms, developed by big resort owners, mortgaged to a lending company, or taken over by their co-beneficiaries who screwed the organization for their vested interests.
Looking at the bigger picture of our agrarian economy, a big percentage of agrarian reform beneficiaries remain in a highly vulnerable life, their produce remain little and poor quality, and even their total contribution to local economy is hardly felt.
More despicable is the DAR quickness to blame the beneficiaries for their lack of interest on the land, lack of farming capacities, and lack of production capital. Instead of helping solve these problems, most DAR officials, program managers and field officers are simply not affected, with some even gloating over what they claim as their accomplishments. Oh my God, so callous and shameful.
Are all this, worth a celebration?
Yes for the crook and perverted DAR officials and personnel who still have the gall to see only themselves, their career promotions, and their plushy lifestyle -- and keep on ignoring the cries of justice of the thousands of peasants and their innocent kin who have soaked farm lands and the DAR with their blood.
A celebration is always a genuine and earnest expression of life, triumph, victory, success which put good above evil, common welfare over personal benefits, birth over death, and an end for a new beginning.
How can there be a heartfelt celebration of life, when Carp and DAR have brought more death than life, ending than new beginning for agrarian reform beneficiaries?
How the hell can the DAR and its cohorts in other concerned agencies celebrate life when the program has not improved agriculture and rural conditions, when DAR has caused the massacres and murders of thousands of poor farmers and farm workers and innocent civilians, and when some DAR officials have reportedly amassed wealth from the Carp which otherwise intended to make agrarian reform beneficiaries grow and become sustainable?
Genuine and meaningful celebration could only be made, savored and enjoyed by the farmers and farm workers who have won their struggles for land and sustainable development, and by those who have quietly assisted them in empowering themselves, reclaiming their dignity, and transforming their lives.
Those who celebrate their wrongdoings, their works of oppression and exploitation, are good for the dustbin of history.