Pro-CARP solons accused of hiding “landlords’ insertions and cruel intentions” on extended land reform bill
Leftwing farmer groups calling for the enactment of the controversial Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill No. 3059 on Sunday accused proponents of CARPer (CARP extension with reforms) bill of hiding the landlords’ “insertions and cruel intentions” incorporated to what pro-GARB groups as perfecting amendments to the extension bill.
“The proponents of CARPer are hiding big, big secrets to the farmers who are made to believe that the extension of the 21-year old bogus land reform program will result land acquisition and distribution of some 1.2 million hectares of agricultural lands to farmer beneficiaries,” the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a joint statement.
“There will be no comprehensive and massive land acquisition and distribution under CARPer. What will be covered will be in accordance with the tokenistic approach of CARP since 1988, nothing more, nothing less,” KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos and Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a joint statement.
One of the perfecting amendments to CARPer is the leaseback arrangement scheme wherein lands already awarded to land reform beneficiaries could be re-acquired by the former landowners and corporations through leaseback agreements. “The purpose of this amendment is to provide venue for landlords and corporations to re-acquire and regain control of lands,” Ramos said.
The KMP leader said another perfecting amendment to CARPer which will defeat land acquisition and distribution is the institutionalization of commercial farm plantations will which further empower landlords and agro-corporations to refuse coverage of their lands by declaring them farm plantations for commercial and export activities.
For his part, Pamalakaya’s Hicap the provision in CARPer which allows the compensation to landowners and increasing the down payment from the present 25% to 30% to 50 percent revealed the real intent of CARPer which is to retain is “milking cow” orientation of landlords and other landed estate entities across the country.
“CARPer is nothing but a real estate transaction between the state and the landlords. This is one of the insertions and cruel intentions of this bogus land reform bill that seeks to prolong the life of this comatose land reform program,” the fisherfolk leader said.
According to Pamalakaya, the CARPer perfecting amendment declaring farmers as habitual squatters and making them criminally liable will be exploited and abused by landlords and big agro corporations to deny peasant land rights and evict them from farm lands.
The KMP, Pamalakaya and other pro-GARB groups challenged the peasant groups identified with the CARPer bloc to withdraw their support to the extension bill and instead shift their agrarian reform advocacy to the controversial bill authored by the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela Women’s Party list Reps. Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.
“Are they afraid of the GARB? There’s nothing wrong about HB 3059. GARB cannot go wrong because it real agenda is to achieve social justice for the farmers across the country,” said the Southern Tagalog-based peasant group Kasama-TK.
Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo, one of the resource persons during the House Committee on Agrarian Reform which tackled GARB last week said the issues raised and ranged against the Beltran bill like constitutionality, just compensation, due process etc. etc were clearly addressed by the authors and resource persons during the hearing.
“If Chairman Rep. Elias Bulut (Apayao) and members of the House committee on agrarian reform are not afraid, they should prove it by preparing and signing a committee report and bring it to the plenary for a major political debate and showdown,” added Lacandazo.
KMP, Pamalakaya and Kasama-TK recalled that in 1993, Sentra, a non-government organization together with other farmer groups conducted a preliminary assessment of CARP from 1988 to 1993, and one of the striking results of program was revealed— a total of 10,958 certificate of land transfers (CLTs), 9,133 EPs and 2,303 CLOAs were cancelled by DAR covering 32, 041 hectares of prime agricultural lands affecting over 22,000 CARP beneficiaries.
“In fact, CARP led to stories of land reform reversals from 1993 up to present with the thousands of cases of land titles having been cancelled or rebuked by DAR to pave way for across-the-country land use conversions that went on full speed ahead in the 90s,”the groups said.
KMP and Pamalakaya cited the case of farmers in Southern Tagalog which said that from 1994 up to 2007, about 1,302,375 hectares of prime agricultural lands have been placed by DAR under conversion and such terrible act led to the massive land reform reversals with the cancellation of land titles all over the region.
During the same period, they said around 173,000 hectares of prime agricultural lands in the region have been already converted for commercial purposes; leaving tens of thousands of supposed to be CARP beneficiaries landless.
“This is the kind of sham land reform which CARP had offered and would still offer to poor farmers and rural people all over the country if Congress passes this shotgun, double bladed piece of legislation”, the groups added. #