Kaya Natin! leaders back CARP extensionBy: Tonette Orejas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Local officials involved in Kaya Natin!, a national movement for good governance and ethical leadership, on Thursday expressed support for the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), provided this came with reforms.
Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija Mayor Sonia Lorenzo, Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca, Ifugao Gov. Teodoro Baguilat Jr. and Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio were the first local officials to have supported the CARP extension.
In a statement, they also voiced support to the moves being taken by the Catholic Church to “reform the current CARP law that will ensure that proper support services are given to the beneficiaries of the land reform program.”
Signed into law by then President Corazon Aquino in June 1988, the CARP was extended for another 10 years until June this year.
The Department of Agrarian Reform reported having an unfinished balance of more than one million hectares of private lands, seeking also an extension of three years to be able to provide more support to agrarian reform communities through infrastructure, farming and marketing services.
“As local government leaders who witness the day-to-day struggles of our farmers, we believe that the non-extension of the CARP will be a big setback in our fight against the rampant poverty that is being felt by majority of Filipinos,” the Kaya Natin! leaders said.
They said it was “sad to note that despite being a predominantly agricultural country, the main heroes of our food security, our farmers, remain to live in poverty wherein many continue to subsist with less than P100 a day.”
In extending the CARP, they said “land resources will be equitably distributed among the Filipino people and will thus provide our farmers and their families with a chance of accessing a better quality of life.”
The reforms, they added, should center on promoting social justice and equitable distribution of wealth and resources.
They also appealed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to certify the CARP extension bill as urgent and to encourage her allies in Congress to pass the bill when session resumes in January 2009.