May 18, 2009 06:31 PM Monday [ sunstar.com .ph ]
SENATE Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. is optimistic that the Senate will be able to pass this week the bill extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program by five years.
Pimentel said the measure, which also allocates P147 billion for CARP is set for individual amendments and is likely to be approved on second reading either tomorrow or Wednesday.
He said the Senate and House should pass their respective versions of the bill as early as possible to give sufficient time for reconciling the conflicting provisions in the bicameral conference committee.
“But if the House will adopt the Senate version, that would be a better course of action since there will be no need for a bilateral panel discussion of the measure,” he said.
He said Congress should approve the final version of the bill before it adjourns on June 5 so that it will be signed into law by President Macapagal-Arroyo before the six-month extension of CARP expires on June 30.
Pimentel said there should be no more delay in the approval of the measure which has long been awaited by more than a million legitimate agrarian reform beneficiaries. He noted that many of these farmers have staged a series of marches, demonstrations and even hunger strike to call the attention of Malacañang and Congress to their plight and to pressure them on the approval of the CARP law amendments. Bernadette Tamayo