BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Contributed to Bulatlat
Posted 6:28 p.m., July 8, 2008
MAKATI CITY — Manila Auxiliary Bishop and Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace , Broderick Pabillo, D.D., grilled a Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) official during a press conference held at the San Carlos Seminary here by asking him where the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) funds went.
The press conference is part of the two-day National Rural Congess II spearheaded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
“I want to ask Usec. (Gerundio) Madueño here, about the statement of Sen. Gringo Honasan when we went to the Senate to dialogue about the extension of CARP with reforms, that your office did not submit any report of how the money for the agrarian reform program is used” Pabillo said. “For he (Honasan) said that the program as been there for so long but there is no transparency of how the money allocated for it was used.”
Madueño, the undersecretary for policy, planning and external affairs, categorically denied Honasan’s allegations that they have never submitted a report, explaining how the money for CARP has been used.
However, Pabillo said, maybe Honasan’s committee in the Senate — the Committee on Agrarian Reform — is not satisfied with the report submitted by the DAR.
Peasant organizations and farmer-support groups like the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines), Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA or Center for Genuine Agrarian Reform), and Amihan (National Federation of Peasant Women) have criticized the DAR for misuse or misappropriation of funds.
KMP vice-chairperson Imelda Lacandazo, one of the delegates to the two-day congress, said that CARP extension will only give corrupt officials, who are involved in the implementation of the program, more opportunities to “steal the people’s money.”
Her group is batting for the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), principally authored by the late Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Rep. Crispin Beltran, which is now pending at the House of Representatives. The law, which activist groups are promoting as a replacement for the CARP, seeks to expand land reform coverage and distribute lands to peasants for free. Contributed to(Bulatlat.com)