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COCAR Holds Public Hearing On CARP Extension

news regional 3 pix 1 sept. 24 2015CAGAYAN DE ORO -The Congressional Oversight Committee on Agrarian Reform (COCAR) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) conducted a public hearing on the status of implementation of Republic Act 9700 (RA 9700) or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Act.

COCAR Chair, Ifugao Representative Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Jr. facilitated the public hearing together with committee members Bukidnon 1st District Representative Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba and Abante Mindanao (ABAMIN) Party-list Representative Maximo Rodriguez.

In her opening message, Congresswoman Acosta-Alba said that the CARP is a social justice program and it would put to an end the centuries-long semi-feudal economic relationship in the countryside.

During the public hearing, Congressman Baguilat said that the purpose of the public hearing is to ask whether to further extend CARP. He then informed that there is also a bill establishing agricultural venture agreements which creates entrepreneurial collaboration between Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) and private investors in the establishment of agriculture-related business ventures involving lands distributed under CARP. 

Congressman Rodriguez gave a backgrounder on the creation and extension of CARP. He also announced the filing of House Bill 4296 or the Notice of Coverage Extension Bill, which would further extend the issuance of notices of coverage up to June 30, 2016.

DAR Undersecretary for Field Operations Jose Grageda said that government intervention is needed in order to make land, the most valuable resource in the Philippines, be equitably distributed to the people. Regarding concerns on CARP’s expiration, Grageda said that there is a provision in RA 9700 that if the process for distribution of land has begun, it would continue beyond 2014. 

Many of the ARBOs present expressed their full support for the extension of CARP citing the need to distribute the remaining lands under the law, as well as to provide more support services through the DAR’s Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS).

Earlier on the same day, Baguilat and  Grageda led the ocular inspection of the land awarded in 2008 to PANAW Multipurpose Cooperative in Sumilao, Bukidnon after their historic “walk for land, walk for justice” from Mindanao to Manila. 

The participants in the public hearing were representatives from the national and local government agencies, Provincial Agrarian Reform Coordinating Committee, 19 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) from Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, academe, students, landowners’ groups and peoples’ organizations.

Also present at the public hearing were the following DAR officials:  Regional Director Felix Aguhob, Asst. Regional Director Teresita Depeñoso, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officers Norberto Paquingan of Bukidnon, Zoraida Macadindang of Misamis Oriental and Camiguin, Jamil Amatonding of Lanao del Norte, and Alibasa Andig of Misamis Occidental. 

The public hearing was held at the Manolo Fortich Gymnasium in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon on September 11, 2015.  (Ressan Nash N. Alonto/Editha R. Salvador)

On stage during the public hearing are (from left) DAR USec. Jose Grageda, Rep. Malou Acosta-Alba of the 1st District of Bukidnon, COCAR Sec. Rita Macabulos, COCAR Chair Rep. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao and ABAMIN Party-list Rep. Maxi Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro.

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