Farmers see better CARP implementation under Duterte

MANILA, Philippines — Farmers who gathered in Quezon City for the National Conference on Agrarian Reform this week are hopeful for a better implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which they said has been lacking in past administrations.
"Naniniwala kami na sa ilalim ng administrasyong Duterte ay mabibigyan ng boses ang mga magsasaka," the group, composed of more than a hundred farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries, said in a press statement.
The delegates, who came from 13 provinces across the country, said that there have been times when the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) failed to give farmers and beneficiaries support in the distribution of land covered by the land reform program.
"Napansin rin namin ang panghihina ng loob nila sa pagpapatupad ng programa sa tuwing mapagbabantaan silang sampahan ng kaso ng dating may-ari ng lupa. Naisip namin na kailangan rin siguro bigyan ng gobyerno ng kaukulang proteksyon at halaga ang seguridad ng mga tao na nagpapatupad ng CARP upang maging malakas ang kanilang loob at ma-implementa maayos ang programa," they said.
The farmers said that even when the land has already been distributed, some beneficiaries cannot use their land because the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) have yet to be distributed. Even those beneficiaries who have CLOAs sometimes have to wait for more than 10 years because of resistance from former landowners, delaying tactics and "anti-farmer decisions by the DAR," they said.
"Napakarami nang naipamahagi na CLOA ngunit malaking porsyento ng mga magsasakang may titulo ang hindi pa rin nakakaposisyon sa mga lupang matagal na dapat nilang sinasaka," they said, adding the government must perform a nationwide inventory of agrarian reform beneficiaries so the implementation of the CARP can be better monitored.
The farmers added that some beneficiaries face harassment and harm when they finally take control of the awarded land.

Mariano: DAR decisions will favor farmers

Incoming DAR Secretary Rafael "Ka Paeng" Mariano, who spoke at the conference, has promised support to the agrarian reform beneficiaries, saying all of the department's decisions under the Duterte administration will favor farmers.
He also said that beneficiaries who have been installed on their own land should stand firm against attempts to evict them or scare them away.
"Kailangan nating siguraduhin na mananatiling nakatapak ang mga paa ng mga magsasaka sa sarili nilang lupa," he told the farmer delegates on Tuesday.
According to DAR data, 4.718 million hectares of around 7.8 million hectares of agricultural land covered by CARP have been distributed to farmer-beneficiaries since 1972. Mariano said that he will be visiting the Negros Island Region, Leyte, Isabela, Masbate, Iloilo, Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato as well as other areas where land rights have been a problem.
Mariano, who represented Anakpawis party-list at the House of Representatives, said the DAR will continue to process agrarian reform cases under the extended CARP. He and other members of the Makabayan bloc had pushed for passage of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill to replace the current CARP.
The national conference was organized by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines - National Secretariat for Social Action. Non-government organizations AR! Now, Asian NGO Coalition, Center for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, Focus on the Global South, KAISAHAN, Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka, Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas, RIGHTS! Network / Katarungan, Task Force Mapalad and Sulong CARHRIHL were co-organizers. ?— Jonathan de Santos

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