Thursday, June 12, 2008

PGMA reports on the Agrarian Reform

Farmers need not worry as the government land acquisition and
distribution schedule under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program
(CARP) will not expire on June 15 but in December yet, Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Nasser Pangandaman clarified today.

Pangandaman made the clarification during a press briefing in
Malacanang this afternoon.

He explained that the land acquisition and distribution component of
CARP was extended up to December 2008 when Republic Act No. 6657, or
the 1988 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), was amended in 1998.

Last night, Congress failed to pass House Bill 4077, which seek to
extend the life of the CARP.

Pangandaman said that it is the position of both Congress and DAR that
the land acquisition and distribution component of CARP remains
effective until Dec. 2008.

He said that the House of Representatives even passed a resolution
last night expressing its commitment to pass HB 4077 when it resumes
sessions in July.

“They decided to come up with a resolution last night habang
tinatalakay itong panukalang batas na ito dahil ang kanilang tingin ay
magtatapos pa sa December this year, so mayroon pa silang panahon para
matalakay iyong mga proposed amendments. Therefore, instead of passing
the bill last night ang ginawa nila nagpasa sila ng resolution saying
that they will further deliberate on the proposed amendments as they
will need more time to study this,” he said.

Pangandaman said that CARP needs to be extended for at least another
five years to give DAR enough time for the acquisition and
distribution of the remaining 1.8 million hectares under the program.

Under his watch, DAR distributed an average of 130,000 hectares
annually, Pangandaman said.

Of the total of 9.1 million hectares targeted for distribution under
the program, some 7.1 million hectares have already been distributed,
he said.

Of the remaining two million hectares, Pangandaman said, 1.8 million
hectares are private agricultural lands to be acquired and distributed
by DAR, while the remaining 200,000 hectares of public lands will be
distributed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Last year, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo certified as urgent the
extension of CARP as part of the government’s programs to expand the
economic opportunities of farmers nationwide.


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