Farmers to Aquino: ‘Distribute the land due to us’

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MANILA, June 13, 2013—A farmers’ group called on President Benigno Aquino III to distribute the land to landless peasants nationwide before the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Law expires on June 14, 2014.

Task Force Mapalad (TFM) stressed that the president is mandated by law to complete the distribution of 1,209,236 hectares of land by the time he leaves from office in 2016.

Distributing the land to farmers before the law’s expiration would give a reason for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of CARP, it said.

The group revealed that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes was able to distribute only a total of 251, 876 hectares from July 2010 to December 2012 which translates into an accomplishment rating of only 21%.

“The President promised to speed up the pace of the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of CARP during a meeting with protesting farmers in Malacañang Palace last June 14, 2012, during the 24th anniversary of CARP,” they added. 

TFM president Alberto Jayme said the Aquino administration has the gargantuan task of distributing the balance of 956,630 hectares from January 2013 to June 14, 2014.

DAR was able to distribute only 16,327 hectares of land from January 2013 to March 31, 2013, about 10% of its total target of 160,001 hectares for the entire year, according to Jayme.

“Now is the right time [for] the President [to] do his duty to distribute CARP land and he must do everything within his power to show that he means business, to the point of removing all officials who do not follow his orders and who work at cross-purposes with his directives,” Jayme furthered.

Meanwhile, a Catholic bishop last week slammed the government’s slow action in implementing land reform.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo pointed out that Aquino was only able to distribute a total of 1, 209, 236 hectares to landless farmers since he assumed the presidency.

“From July 2010 to December 2012, Malacañang was able to distribute only 251, 876 hectares representing a measly 21%, leaving a balance of 956, 630 to be given away until the CARP funding expires on June 14, 2014,” Pabillo, who is chairman of CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), said.

“DAR records [shows] that the current Aquino administration is the worst performer as far as LAD [is concerned] since he CARP was launched by the Cory administration,” he added. (Jandel Posion)

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