No genuine land reform under Duterte
KMP reminds DAR: CARP is a fake and failed program
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) snapped back at the statement of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) undersecretary Elmer Distor last July 31 implying that “landlords and capitalists” no longer “hold sway over vast tracts of agricultural lands.”
In a response to KMP’s July 22 press statement which listed some existing large landholdings, Distor insisted that “the landholdings mentioned by the KMP are not owned by capitalists or landlords” as they are “already covered with Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs).”
“DAR attempts to muddle the concrete and persisting reality of land monopoly amid peasant landlessness. Its statement is blatantly false and essentially pro-landlord. The claim that they are implementing a genuine agrarian reform program is similarly preposterous and untrue. CARP is a bogus, inherently flawed, and failed land reform program,” according to former agrarian reform secretary Rafael Mariano, KMP’s chairman emeritus and chairperson of Anakpawis Partylist.
“A genuine agrarian reform program foremost assures the free redistribution of vast private agricultural landholdings to farmers; as stipulated in the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (House Bill 239). CARP does the exact opposite by charging beneficiaries with amortization, and disqualifying and ejecting those who cannot,” Mariano explained.
The peasant leader further points out that DAR Secretary John Castriciones seems to be neglecting the distribution of private agricultural lands. “In compliance with Duterte’s EO 75, Brother John has narrowly focused on working with government-owned lands. What happened with the undistributed private agricultural lands, composing 92% of DAR’s land acquisition and distribution balance?” he asked.
Executive Order (EO) No. 75, series of 2019, directs DAR “to acquire all lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture, which is owned by the… Government… for the purpose of eventual distribution to qualified beneficiaries.” Identification of covered lands, however, depends upon the voluntary identification of government agencies.
“CARP fails in what it covers, and it fails too by covering so little,” Mariano adds. “Due to its comprehensive exemptions, CARP only covers a total of 5.43 million hectares, or just 44%, not even half, of the 12.4 million hectares total croplands nationwide. Castriciones have made this worse by making the conversion of agricultural lands easier.”
Castriciones issued DAR Administrative Order No. 1, series of 2019, which reduced the documentary requirements for land-use conversion, and shortened the process from six months to just one month
“For his part, KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said the Duterte regime has not and cannot make as much of a dent against land concentration in the country. With its wanton killing, terrorism, and red-tagging against farmers and land reform advocates, Duterte is undeniably anti-peasant and anti-land reform. Paving the way towards genuine land reform today necessitates the ending of the Duterte regime ASAP.” #