People's Resolution for CARP Extension with Reforms sign now

WHEREAS, the 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates the implementation of Agrarian Reform to serve the purposes of social justice and national development. It does not end until its scope and mandate has been fully accomplished;

WHEREAS, the 20 years of CARP implementation has facilitated the significant increase in owner-cultivatorship among agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) which also encouraged the them to invest more in their farms and introduce high value-added crops. It also ushered in higher human capital investment and better social and economic conditions especially among the poor and the marginalized sectors in the Philippines;

WHEREAS, despite the gains of CARP implementation in Mindanao, it has also faced enormous problems primarily due to the evasive mechanisms employed by landowners. At least 440,097 hectares of agricultural land in Mindanao alone have not been distributed to landless farmers. Approximately 8,284.666 hectares of CARPable lands have been converted to industrial and commercial lands in Mindanao. No less than 2,829.252 hectares have been approved for CARP exemption. Massive cancellation of EPs and CLOAs is rampant and agrarian cases that are still pending before judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals;

WHEREAS, there is an urgent need to extend CARP in order to benefit the thousands of landless farmers who are still under the claws of the landowners and agribusiness elites. However, it is imperative that significant reforms should also be introduced in order to respond to the tactics of the landowners in order to circumvent CARP implementation. Social justice demands that the remaining thousands of landless farmers be awarded a land of their own. With the Church, as the foremost defender of the poor, social action and other initiatives can be made for the advancement of agrarian reform in the country;

THEREFORE, WE, the various peasant groups, people's organizations, academic institutions, government and non-government organizations all over the Philippines hereby strongly demand from the Congress of the Philippines the immediate enactment of a law to extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) with significant reforms. More specifically, WE demand for the following amendments in order to accelerate the implementation of CARP:

1. Acceleration of the Land Acquisition and Distribution component of CARP with automatic annual appropriation from the Congress;
2. Ensure strengthened credit and support services to farmer beneficiaries;
3. Address implementation obstacles especially massive land conversion and exemption of agricultural lands;
4. Categorical declaration that EPs and CLOAs shall be indefeasible one year after registration;
5. Mandate for direct and physical distribution of agricultural lands as opposed to non-distributive schemes, with focused on Compulsory Acquisition as the primary mode of land transfer;
6. Recognition of farmer beneficiaries' legal standing in cases before judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals involving their land;
7. Recognition of women as program beneficiaries with mandate for gender responsive support services;
8. Establishment of the needed implementation structure for completion of CARP including the reorganization of the DAR.

FURTHER, WE strongly oppose the Farmland as Collateral (FAC) Bill, leaseback arrangements, and other killer amendments, as they only allow the previous landowners to consolidate their ownership of agricultural lands, thereby evading agrarian reform. WE also strongly oppose the RP-China land deals and other provisions allowing foreign nationals to own huge agricultural lands. These provisions would bury the essence of CARP.

FINALLY, WE strongly appeal to the Congress of the Philippines, as representatives of the people, to listen to our People's Resolution. WE strongly appeal to the Congress to oppose the killer amendments of the landowners and instead incorporate all our proposed CARP provisions for a more effective implementation of agrarian reform. WE strongly appeal that Congress enact a reformed CARP Law not later than December 17, 2008!

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