Senate OKs CARP extension on third and final reading

on . Posted in DAR In The News
gma on lineThe Senate on Wednesday approved on third and final reading a bill allowing the government to continue the acquisition and distribution of agricultural lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to farmer-beneficiaries until 2016.

Senate Bill No. 2278 seeks to amend Section 30 of Republic Act 9700 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reform (CARPer), which extended the CARP from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2014.

Section 2 of the bill allows the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to continue issuing Notices of Coverage and accept voluntary offers to sell by landowners of agricultural lands until June 30, 2016.

Sen. Gregorio Honasan II, author and sponsor of the bill, said the propose measure is certified as urgent in June 2014 by Malacañang and was mentioned at the last State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III.

“The law does not, in effect, expire. It is a continuing process until the acquisition and distribution is terminated,” Honasan said in a press statement.

CARP, first implemented in 1988, was the "centerpiece program" of the late President Corazon Aquino, mother of the incumbent President. It was supposed to end in 1998 but was extended for another five years in June 2009 through RA 9700.

Honasan said based on DAR data, out of the total 5,466, 602 hectares to be distributed, around 4,655,100 hectares had been awarded to farmer-beneficiaries while about 726,421 hectares remain undistributed.

DAR officials said that around 29,935 hectares have still to be issued Notices of Coverage as of today.

At least four senators who signed the committee report recommending the approval of the bill expressed reservations.

Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said he wanted to include provisions that will strengthen agrarian reform and speed up the process.

Senator Francis Escudero, on the other hand, said he will submit his written explanation and reservations to the committee.

Senate President Franklin Drilon gave those who have reservations until Monday noon to submit their statements to be included in the bill. —KBK, GMA News

Source: GMANews