President Aquino certifies as urgent CARP extension bill

By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA, June 11 (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III has certified as urgent the passage of House Bill No. 4296 that will ensure the completion of the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

In separate letters to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the President said it is crucial to address the immediate need to extend the operation of the LAD program under the CARP which is set to expire at the end of this month.

The completion of LAD component of the CARP is pursuant to Republic Act No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.

“As a constitutionality mandated undertaking, it is imperative that the State ensure the completion of an agrarian reform program dedicated to the ideal of a just and equitable distribution of land among tenant farmers,” the President said.

President Aquino said that despite the CARP’s initial success in implementing agrarian reform, a substantial portion of the country’s agricultural lands remains beyond the program’s coverage.

“And will continue to be so unless the program’s efficacy is extended,” he stressed.

“The certification of House Bill No. 4296 provides for the seamless implementation of the LAD and reaffirms this government’s dedication to implementing genuine land reform,” he added.

According to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) figures, of the total 710,000 hectares of lands originally targeted for distribution between July 2010 and June 2013, only 360,464 hectares or 51 percent of the annual targets have been distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries. (PNA)