DAR paid ad on CARP meant for fund generation campaign

DAR paid ad on CARP meant for fund generation campaign

Groups opposed to the extension of the 20-year old Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) on Monday said the full-page advertisement which appeared in major broadsheets this week were paid for by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to convince foreign donors agencies to continue funding the agrarian reform program of the government.

“To make it simple and understandable, DAR merely wants funding agencies abroad to invest more billions of pesos for CARP implementation and support services in the tradition of the
P 76.2 billion foreign donors had shelled over the last 20 years. In other words, it is just another money making scheme,” anti-CARP groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Amihan peasant federation said in a joint press statement.

“Whether agrarian reform secretary Nasser Pangandaman admits it or not, the paid advertisements which ran in millions of pesos of taxpayers money were part of the sinister scheme to acquire more funds and more loans abroad for the current corrupt regime of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” the groups said.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos noticed that in the paid advertisement, DAR put more emphasis on the need of CARP to sustain funding for support services, adding that the DAR, in a way admitted that it would no longer give premium to land distribution and would focus more on foreign funded and assisted projects ranging from support infrastructures and maintenance of so-called agrarian reform communities for fund drive abroad.

“This is a money making racket sanctioned by the bureaucracies in and out of Malacañang and in and out of DAR. This is money making at its best,” said Ramos.

The KMP leader also questioned the claim of DAR that it was able to distribute 7.2 million hectares of land to 4.5 million farmers over the last 20 years under CARP, while the truth is more than half of the 7 million hectares target for land distribution were already reverted back to the former landlords or transferred to new private owners in the form of cancellation of land titles, land use conversions and other forms of land grabbing and agrarian reform reversals.

“In fact vast tracts of land remained in the hands of few landed monopolies both local and foreign. DAR spin doctors are trying to make a glossy picture out of the sorry state of land reform in the country,” added Ramos.

For his part, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap challenged DAR secretary Pangandaman to identify the beneficiaries and the exact locations of the beneficiaries where the so-called physical land transfer or land distribution.

The Pamalakaya leader said an audit performance is highly necessary to prove if there is really truth to the claim of DAR that it was able to distribute 7.2 million hectares of land to 4.5 million farmer beneficiaries.

“DAR has this two-decade long record of doctoring the agrarian reform statistics to show to the people of the country and the international community that agrarian reform really existed in the country over the last 20 years,” Hicap added.

According to accomplishment report of DAR, the government under CARP was able to provide tools for productivity to 5,961 farmers organizations and cooperatives and benefited 709,219 members. It also said 2,595 organizations availed of the P 4.736 billion credit support provided by the agrarian reform department.

The DAR report also cited other accomplishment reports such as the construction of 6,577 farm-to-market roads, 976 irrigation systems, 428 units of post-harvest facilities, 194 multi-purpose buildings, 6 flood control projects and 174 bridges.

KMP, Pamalakaya and other staunch allies are calling for the junking of CARP, and have rejected moves to extend the 20-year old agrarian reform program, including the scrapping of Joint Resolution No.1 that extended CARP for another six months without compulsory acquisition.

Instead the groups are calling for the passage of Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill 3059 authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela partly list lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

The meat of GARB is the free distribution of lands to landless, land-lacking and willing to till farmers with enough guaranteed security of tenure protection, production subsidies and support services. #

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