Visayan Farmers, Landlords say CARP a Failure; Urge Overhaul

“CARP review OK, but address key issues”

Rep. Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis (Toilibg Masses) Partylist agreed with Aguja in calling for the comprehensive assessment first of CARP, addressing its numerous loopholes and problem areas, technicalities, before proceeding to the issue of extension or termination.

“There are so much issues to be tackled – among the most critical are how much land is really up for coverage because DAR targets keep on changing over time, and whether non-land distribution schemes such as the stock distribution option, leaseback scheme, and the joint venture agreement would still be allowed or not,” said Mariano.

Mariano said that beyond identification of legitimate agrarian beneficiaries, land valuation, and support services, the issues he mentioned are even more important because they are the conditions that breed evasion and conflict.

Rep. Ferjenel Biron of the Fourth District of Iloilo said political will is essential to the implementation of any law, including the CARP.

He said the reason CARP has been viewed as a failure is the fact that its key implementers seem to have been lacking in political will to truly enforce the law and make a difference in the lives of the marginal sectors.

DAR also pushes CARP extension

Still, as far as the DAR is concerned, there is no stopping agrarian reform despite its weaknesses, or all its achievements after 16 years of CARP implementation would only be squandered, and rising opportunities for the agrarian reform beneficiaries would be thrown away.

DAR 6 Regional Director Alexis Arsenal said that the department is for CARP extension, but added that they do not want “accelerating CARP for its completion” nor to simply complete it in five years; what they want, he said, is to accelerate it and make it truly sustainable.

Arsenal welcomed the demand of farmers and landowners to review the CARP provided the stakeholders agree on the parameters based on the law.

As of end-September 2006, Arsenal said, DAR 6 reported that CLOAs and EPs have been given to 219,810 agrarian reform beneficiaries, covering 349,404 has, and ensured the security of tenure of 77,033 beneficiaries in 89,430 has. through 85,721 leasehold contracts.

DAR disclosed it has accomplished 76 percent of its land distribution goals, or a total of 349,404 has. out of a 462,317-ha. working scope, and a balance of 24 percent or 112,913 has.

Of the provinces within the jurisdiction of DAR Region 6, Antique ranked no. 1 in land distribution accomplishments with 98 percent – followed by Aklan with 93 percent, Guimaras with 92 percent, Iloilo with 88 percent, Capiz with 85 percent, and Negros Occidental with 63 percent.

It also stated that it has resolved 65,781 agrarian cases, and extended loan assistance of P193 million to beneficiaries production and income-generating projects, and established 152 agrarian reform communities (ARCs) in 101 municipalities and 360 barangays (villages). (Bulatlat.com)

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