Agrarian Reform To Be Extended For 10 More Years

June 20, 2007 at 1:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Filipino agrarian expert Julita Ragandang gestures during a press briefing in Zamboanga City. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service/Chris Navarra)



ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 20 Jun) – The Philippine government’s agrarian reform program may be extended after President Gloria Arroyo certified as urgent a bill seeking a 10-year extension of the CARP.

The CARP or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program is set to end in June 2008, ten years after it was passed.

The CARP is primarily a social reform measure and addresses the need for a more equitable distribution of land ownership. Its end-goal is to improve the standards of living of beneficiaries and promote greater economic activity in the rural areas.

Filipino agrarian expert Julita Ragandang said President Arroyo is supporting the CARP extension because more farmers are still to benefit from this social reform program.

“There are still many things to do,” Ragandang, who heads the Department of Agrarian Reform in Western Mindanao, said.

The DAR has recently celebrated its 19th year.

Agrarian chief Nasser Pangandaman has presented to President Arroyo a manifesto of support for the extension of the CARP.

Pangandaman said almost seven million hectares of agricultural lands, from more than four millions all over the Philippines, have already been distributed to over four million farmers.

The Department of Agrarian Reform is the lead implementing agency of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

It undertakes land tenure improvement, development of program beneficiaries, and the delivery of agrarian justice. DAR conducts land survey in resettlement areas.

It undertakes land acquisition and distribution and land management studies. The DAR also orchestrates the delivery of support services to farmer-beneficiaries and promotes the development of viable agrarian reform communities.

The passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), Republic Act 6655, in 1988 was hailed as a historic occasion. CARL promised to redistribute agricultural lands — in several phases — to those who actually till them, the farmers.

Ragandang said most of the government funding for CARP came from the recovered P50-billion of the so-called Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth; however, only P10 billion was allocated to the DAR, the rest of the money was distributed to other agencies, including P8-million for human rights victims under then President Ferdinand Marcos.

She said in Western Mindanao, the DAR, as of May this year, distributed over 219,000 hectares of agricultural lands to more than 111,000 farmers-beneficiaries.

Belgium, Spain and Japan among the countries that are supporting the CARP in the region, she said. “They are helping us a lot. CARP farmers now have post-harvest facilities, farm-to-market roads, bridges, potable water and irrigation system and many more,” Ragandang said. (With a report from Chris Navarra)


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