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Congress vows to pass CARP Extension Bill

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 [ ]

CONGRESS has vowed to finalize the bill extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) before it adjourns sine die on June 5.

This developed after President Gloria Arroyo sought for the immediate passage of the CARP Extension Bill not later than next month during a brief meeting on Monday with Senator Gregorio Honasan, House Speaker Prospero Nograles, Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman and other lawmakers.

During the meeting, Nograles gave his assurance that the bill will be passed in the Lower House not later than June 3, 2009.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), which has been following up the development of the bill with MalacaƱang, expressed relief upon hearing of Congress’ commitment to approve it.

“The meeting was very candid and successful. The bishops of CBCP were actually delighted when they learned of what transpired in the meeting with the President,” Presidential deputy spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo told reporters in a press briefing in MalacaƱang.

Various stakeholders of CARP have mounted calls for the passage of the bill in Congress especially with only eight session days left before both Houses adjourns on June 5,2009.

The CARP Extension bill is currently in the period of individual amendments in the Philippine Senate and is expected to be passed for third reading this week. In the Lower House, resumption of plenary debates on the CARP Extension bill is expected to start within the House of Representatives.

Once passed, the new bill would include the five-year implementation period, the collateral-free financial support to farmers, the creation of a monitoring committee, and the increased penalty for CARP violators

-- Danielle Clara P. Dandan with Angelo S. Samonte


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