CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Farmers belonging to the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) slammed President Benigno Aquino III for pushing for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) until 2016.
AMGL Chairman Joseph Canlas said the House Bill 4296 seeks to extend the implementation of the Republic Act 6576 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) beyond its supposed expiration on June 30 this year.
Additional budget for land acquisition and distribution (Lad) will also be needed because of the extension, according to Canlas.
“The farmers in Central Luzon are not ignorant of the ill-effects of Carp and actually demanding its immediate death on or before June 30. Carp is an illusion, not even an agrarian reform program, but a milking cow of corrupt government officials and big landlords. We demand the immediate junking and shredding of House Bill 4296 as well as RA 6576,” Canlas said.
He said that Carp protects the interests of landlords in the region including the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Tarlac.
“Aquino’s family retained control in Hacienda Luisita using Carp and its stock distribution option provision in 1989, that resulted the unimaginable poverty and misery of the farm workers, on the other hand, thousands of hectares were converted such as the Luisita mall, industrial park, golf course and more,” Canlas said.
Farmers who are holding certificate of land ownership awards (Cloa), certificate of land transfer (CLT) and emancipation patents (EPs) in Nueva Ecija are actually receiving cancellation notices and foreclosure notices from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Land Bank, Canlas said.
In 2011, DAR reported that there are 95,855 farmer-beneficiaries in Nueva Ecija for 169,375-hectares.
“DAR reported of big accomplishment in Nueva Ecija but the farmers are plagued with cancellation and displacement issues,” Canlas said.
The AMGL asserted that Carp was also instrumental in displacing farmers in Hacienda Dolores in Porac town.
Canlas said that the 2,000-hectare hacienda is now being converted by Ayala Land as Alviera, an eco-residential and commercial estate similar to Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
“DAR issued exemption and conversion orders for Hacienda Dolores lands, thus, private corporations wreak havoc, violently displaced farmers and destroyed their crops. Carp is the main instrument used by Ayala Land’s dummy corporations to snatch lands from the farmers,” Canlas said.
Since 2011, farmers from Hacienda Dolores were harassed, imprisoned and killed as a result of the land dispute.
“Violent repression of farmers are inherent to Carp as it actually serve the interests of big landlords and corporations and not the poor farmers,” Canlas said.
The farmers’ group said that Carp should be repealed because it is not a genuine agrarian reform program. The group challenged the lawmakers to junk House Bill 4296.
“Amid the country’s problems such as the multi-billion peso corruption through pork barrel, the multi-billion peso Carp should be laid to rest. Lawmakers for once should prioritize the interest of the poor farmers,” Canlas said.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 16, 2014.
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