Land reform deadline 'not the end of the world' - Valte

Posted at 02/03/13 5:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- A Malacanang spokesperson admitted there are challenges blocking the early distribution of land to farmers, but told stakeholders that the deadline set by law is not “the end of the world.”

In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said: “Admittedly, there are more challenges in the process of acquiring and distributing private lands kasi bago po nito, what government was distributing were government-owned land. Now, we are in the process of acquiring and distributing privately-owned lands.”

She said there is a process to acquiring private lands for distribution. “As (Agrarian Reform) Secretary (Virgilio) de los Reyes has said, 2014 need not be the end of the world, as long as the notice of coverage has been issued before June 2014, then the distribution will still be entertained,” she said.

About 84 prelates, including Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, sent a letter to President Benigno Aquino last January 24 reminding him of his promise for a speedy implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, which will end July 2014.

“Mr. President, please take a quick decisive action that Carper be fully implemented,” said the bishops based on a report from the CBCP News. “You are racing against time. We make this appeal with great urgency.”

“Is it a design of the Divine Providence that what your mother, of happy memory, started would be finished within your term when the Carper law ends by July of 2014?” they noted.

Despite CBCP’s repeated calls, Valte reiterated anew that de los Reyes continues to enjoy Aquino’s trust and confidence amid his alleged failure in implementing the program.

Some 900,000 hectares are still up for distribution under the land reform program.