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Farmers criticize CARP, calls for genuine agrarian reform

November 5, 2016

TACLOBAN CITY – Farmers all over Region 8 led by SAGUPA, a region-wide peasant organization held talks with the new DAR secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano to present their grievances over the slow and faulty implementation of CARP.

Nestor Lebico, Secretary General of SAGUPA-SB revealed that CARP and its extension CARPER proved to be pro-landlord and anti-peasant. He said that the loopholes within the program caters to the landlords and its system of amortization is a burden to the farmers, in fact the sluggish and defective implementation in Region 8 is a testament to its futility. He cited four cases in Leyte to be presented in the dialogue: the slow execution of the case in Palo, the snaillike pace of CLOA distribution in Hacienda MAIC in San Isidro, land conversion by Cali Realty Co. in Tacloban City, and Ching Veloso’s land grabbing cases in Alang-alang, San Miguel and Tacloban City.

Lebico disclosed that most of these land reform cases are decades old where farmers have been tilling the land as early as 1960s. In some of the usual cases surrounding CARP, a land covered by CARP was exempted by virtue of land conversion, as is the case in Suhi, Tacloban City.

The Department of Agrarian Reform in Region 8 claims to have distributed 430,115 hectares to 193,032 beneficiaries or is equivalent to 86.96 percent of their total target. In this region, the majority of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries came from Leyte.

“DAR’s report on the implementation of CARP is dubious as these figures are often bloated by different kinds of bogus land distribution. It may include lands with registered certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) but not yet turned over to tenants who haven’t paid their amortization in full. Double counting also happens wherein the ‘mother’ or collective CLOAs and the ‘individual’ CLOAs are both counted. The most infuriating cases are when CLOA holders are still not occupying the land because of landlord resistance”, Lebico exclaimed.

Lebico pointed out that the pro-landlord and anti-peasant nature of CARP will never solve the landlessness of peasants in the Philippines as these landlords will only find loopholes and technicalities to exempt them from CARP. A genuine agrarian reform could only be the answer to this problem the peasants endure since GARB has wider coverage and offers the land freely to the farmers involved. It doesn’t grant exemptions nor does it allow the land to be converted. Also, support will be given to the farmer-beneficiaries.

Lebico challenged the new Duterte administration to implement genuine agrarian reform that would truly address landlessness amongst farmers. “I have high hopes with the new Duterte administration especially after appointing a pro-farmer DAR secretary, Rafael Mariano. A genuine agrarian reform that would replace the faulty CARP could be a step in securing land for the landless farmers”, Lebico reiterated.

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