Antonio Flores, spokesperson and lead convenor of Bantay Bigas, said, “The RIDA will pave the way for the development and protection of our rice industry into a self-reliant and sustainable economic element of our national development.”
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, AGHAM president, maintained that GARB is the solution to the age-old problem of landlessness and feudal exploitation in the country.
Speaking at the forum, Mariano said that the Arroyo government must not take pride in the so-called accomplishments of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
He said that of the 3.8 million hectares covered by CARP, only 2.1 million hectares are private agricultural lands. This, he said, is equivalent to only 20 percent of the privately owned lands and 80 percent still remain outside the CARP.
Mariano said that certificate of land ownership awards (CLOA), emancipation patents (EP) and certificate of land titles (CLT) are being confiscated from farmers. “Walang security of tenure ang magsasaka, babalik at babalik sa panginoong maylupa.” (Farmers have no security of tenure, the land will go back into the hands of the landlords.)