Congress fails to pass bill extending CARP

Posted at 06/26/14 2:39 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP) will end on Monday, the chairman of the agrarian reform committee of the House of Representatives said yesterday.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said the House and the Senate have failed to approve two bills extending the acquisition of agricultural lands for distribution to farmers, which is the heart of the program.

“President Aquino certified the bill as urgent but it was still not passed on the last session days of Congress due to stiff opposition from representatives from the Visayas and the Makabayan bloc,” Baguilat said.

“But as chairman of the committee on agrarian reform, I am committed to have this bill passed when Congress resumes session for the sake of the farmers already awaiting the distribution of the land they till,” he said.

Aquino issued the certification only a few days before the House and the Senate ended their first regular session two weeks ago. He has assured farmers that the land reform program would be finished under his administration.

House leaders decided not to take up the certified bill on their last sessions as it was deemed to be so controversial that many congressmen were against it.

One controversial feature would expand the program to cover all government lands, including military camps.

Baguilat said under the law, land acquisition, or the issuance by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of notice of coverage (NOC), will stop on July 1.

However, he said distribution of land already covered by NOCs, along with other processes and support services, will continue.

He suggested that the DAR should now work overtime to issue such notices to landowners whose estates have not been distributed to their farmers.