“This sinister move clearly aims to ‘zombify’ the CARP law which expired on June 30, 2014.”
By RUTH LUMIBAO
MANILA — June 10 marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) or the so-called Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the Cory Aquino government.
In 1988, CARP was ratified by Congress and immediately signed into law by President Corazon Aquino. Supposedly aimed at fulfilling its goals for land distribution by 1998, it was extended for another 10 years by then President Joseph Estrada. During the presidency of current Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, it was extended further and became known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).
Thirty years later, agrarian reform remains to be one of the resounding calls of farmers. Idle lands remain undistributed and agricultural lands continue to be converted into different uses by landlords and big companies.
On October 10, 2017, Representative Rene Relampagos and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez filed a bill to, once again, amend CARP. The proposal simply seeks to remove the qualification of heirs of landowners and the condition that the heir must directly till or manage the farm.
Progressive peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) regards the bill as an ‘affront to landless farmers’ because instead of pushing for genuine agrarian reform, it seeks to ‘breathe life into the long-dead CARP law’.
“This sinister move clearly aims to ‘zombify’ the CARP law which expired on June 30, 2014. Big landowners who do not want their lands to be covered by land reform and land distribution are obviously behind this proposal of Rep. Relampagos,” KMP Chairperson Danilo Ramos said in a statement.
Meanwhile, House Bill No. 555, otherwise known as the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), has been pending in the Committee on Agrarian Reform in the House of Representatives since July 2016. The bill was first proposed in 2007 by Anakpawis Partylist. It has since been re-filed every time.
See the comprehensive discussion comparing GARB and CARP here.
“It is high time for Congress to consider GARB. Legislators owe it to their constituents to enact significant reforms,” Ramos concluded.
This June 8, peasants from Central and Southern Luzon converge in Manila to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the “bogus land reform program,” to reiterate their strong calls for genuine land reform and to demand an end to the killings of farmers.