Jan. 13, 2008

Task Force Mapalad, a national peasant federation, will ask progressive members of Congress to conduct a review of the role played by landowners in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to determine to what extent they have contributed to its success of failure.

TFM president Jose Rodito Angeles said they have moved for filing of a resolution seeking such a review in light of the landowners sustained call to review CARP and to defer its implementation pending such a review.

Landowners have been calling for a review of CARP. They have been playing up the flaws of CARP in order to justify its non-extension after June 2008. Now we want a review of what they have done during the past 19 years of CARP in order to see if they have the moral high ground to question CARP,” said Angeles.

Angeles added that the farmers see the landowners call for CARP review as a mere mask to hide their real intention to completely stop the implementation of CARP.

They are actually anti-CARP through and through and they want to use the CARP review as a way of stopping CARP and saving their land from distribution, he said.

Angeles said that in case a review of landowners role in CARP pushes through, they will ask the congressional review committee to summon to the hearing all landowners who have been identified by farmers and farmer-beneficiaries to have been involved in agrarian-related land disputes.

A congressional review of such nature will help bring to light why there have been cases not only of failure in CARP implementation but also land disputes that in sometimes resulted in violence and deaths, Angeles said.

He said landowners have been blaming CARP itself for the occurrence of land disputes and violent incidents.

As far as the farmers are concerned, the only source of violence in agrarian-related disputes has been the landowners who want to evade CARP and prevent the distribution of their CARP-covered lands, he stressed.

He said that among the groups that have openly called for CARP review included the Concerned Landowners of Negros, sugar millers associations, coconut planters associations, and other landlord-dominated groups.

He said the Concerned Landowners of Negros has been particularly aggressive in its campaign for CARP review and against CARP extension because it has the all-out support of presidential brother-in-law Rep. Ignacio Iggy Arroyo.(30)

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