“There is no point in extending a bogus land reform program that has served to strengthen the hold of big landowners, agro-corporations and multinationals over vast tracts of land.”
Thus explained Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza, in voting “NO” to the proposed extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program which was approved at the committee level yesterday.
“We would gladly support a land reform program that will genuinely pave the way for land distribution, irrigation and support for farm implements to poor peasants. However, the measure that Malacanang and Congress are dead-set on approving will give new life to the CARP that has kept at least seven out of ten peasants landless,” explained Maza.
According to the Gabriela solon, even records from the Department of Agrarian Reform would substantiate the failure of the 20-year old CARP and the need for a genuine agrarian reform law.
Based on DAR records, foreclosed properties due to non-payment of amortization totaled around 100,000 hectares, implying that the economic conditions of farmer-beneficiarie s did not improve significantly to enable them to sustain payment. “Most farmer beneficiaries become victims of bigay-bawi schemes,” said Maza.
Maza further said that from 1988 to 2004 alone, around 800,000 hectares of agricultural lands have been converted to other uses enabling landowners and corporations to circumvent the law.
The Gabriela solon also notes that amendments being introduced in the bill to extend the CARP implementation does not in any way change the provisions that has kept the peasants landless. “The bill does not in its essence contain any program for reform.”
Gabriela solons Maza and Luz Ilagan are instead pushing for HB3059 or
the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill along with Rep. Crispin Beltran (Anakpawis) and Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino (Bayan Muna).