MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured farmer-beneficiaries yesterday that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) was expeditiously working toward distributing land to them as mandated by the Comprehensive Agrarian Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Law.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte gave the assurance a day after farmers conducted a lightning rally in front of Malacañang’s Gate 3 to protest the slow pace of the agrarian reform program.
Valte said the DAR already distributed 56 percent or 113,196 hectares of targeted landholdings to farmer-beneficiaries in 2011 as opposed to the 41 percent claimed by the protestors.
She added that a significant land area is set to be distributed for 2012.
“For 2012, we have 25,933 hectares in the advanced stage of acquisition targeted to be distributed or delivered by March 2012,” Valte said.
“We have 28,857 hectares at the middle stage of acquisition to be delivered after June 2012,” she added.
“So the DAR is on target to deliver and distribute the landholdings,” she said.
Valte said the case of Hacienda Luisita owned by President Aquino’s family was still being litigated in the Supreme Court (SC) and thus its distribution has not been settled with finality.
“There’s a pending case… The first resolution, the first decision (of the SC ordering distribution, the government no longer filed a (motion for reconsideration) because our position is for land distribution,” Valte said.
Farmers belonging to the peasant group Task Force Mapalad sneaked past security by riding a jeepney and entering the Palace premises one by one.
The farmers who came from Negros, Batangas, Bukidnon and Davao are asking the Aquino administration to hasten the full implementation of Republic Act 9700 or the CARPER law.
Timing it on Valentine’s Day, the protesters carried heart-shaped placards with the words “CARPER completion, not termination” and “fighting corruption is good but don’t forget poverty alleviation.”
They staged a lie-in protest in front of the Palace gates. The demonstration lasted for about 15 minutes until the protesters were accosted by policemen and brought to the Manila Police District. - By Aurea Calica