The Daily Manila Shimbun


House panel quiz DAR turnaround to support bills to extend limit in CARP component  

January 24, 2017

Members of the House committee on agrarian reform questioned the Department of Agrarian Reform’s turnaround from its previous position to support pending bills seeking to extend the limit period in the land acquisition and distribution component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

In a hearing presided by the panel’s senior chairman Rep. Deogracias Victor Savellano of Ilocos Sur, lawmakers stressed that pending bills would ensure the realization of the CARP and uphold the rights of farmers and landless farmworkers.

On the agenda of the committee during the hearing were House Bills 114 and 3051, both mandating the completion of the land acquisition and distribution component of the CARP pursuant to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL).

Rep. Kaka Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands, author of HB 3051, asked the DAR to explain. She expressed surprise over the DAR statement the bills appeared not to respond to the problems of Filipino farmers.

Bag-ao reminded the DAR the reason the bills were filed is there was a proposal by DAR it needs particular policies for the agency to proceed with coverage and distribution of the remaining components of the agrarian reform program.

“Almost 3 decades since the inception of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Progra, almost 800,000 hectares of agricultural land still remains to be covered. And countless agrarian-related disputes have yet to be resolved,” she said.

Marcos Risonar, Jr., DAR undersecretary, explained that while the bills aim to remedy the failure of Republic Act A 9700 or CARP extension, the department says the bills are inadequate and will include those landholdings which have not been issued notice of coverage between June 30, 2014 and until the effectivity of the law if the bill becomes a law.

“While the purpose of the bills, which is to extend the land acquisition and distribution component of CARP, is laudable, the same may not be necessary,” Risonar said.

Risonar said DAR wishes to point out that the program of distributing lands to former beneficiaries continued even after June 30, 2014. DMS