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Pass CARP extension bill soon, CBCP urges gov’t

07/22/2008 [ tribune.net.ph ]

The influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the government to urgently pass the bill extending the lapsing implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and at the same time institute reforms that is beneficial to poor farmers who remain landless.

Caloocan City Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez read a letter from the CBCP dated July 8, 2008 asking the government to pass the bill immediately.

“After 20 years, 1.3 million hectares of ‘CARP-able’ lands remain undistributed, consisting mainly of large haciendas of those who have been resisting CARP from its inception,” the letter, which Iñiguez said was borne by the recently concluded 2nd National Rural Congress (NRC 2), read.

In the same letter, the CBCP also raised six proposals to be incorporated to the bill, which are: the imposition of a mandate for the direct and physical distribution of all agricultural lands, as opposed to non-redistributive schemes;

For the government to address policy and implementation problems that are obstacles to the completion of the program; the government’s establishment of the needed implementation structure for CARP’s completion;

For the government to provide the requisite appropriations of at least 50 billion for the continued distribution of lands to farmer beneficiaries under CARP; for the government to ensure a strengthened credit support service system for farmer beneficiaries, and;

For Congress to monitor with major stakeholders the CARP’s implementation and the Department of Agrarian Reform’s performance in line with it.

The CBCP letter concluded on its expression of hope that a reformed CARP will be “placed at the center of the country’s agricultural development, transformation and competitiveness.” Pat C. Santos

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