CAR backs new agrarian program

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BAGUIO CITY: Government leaders in the Cordillera have expressed support for a new agrarian reform program that respects the indigenous peoples’ right to ancestral domain.

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During the two-day regional consultation on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms (Caser) called by the government peace panel, the Regional Development Council and the Regional Peace and Order Council in the Cordillera recently, the regional leaders were one with the peace panel’s tact on crafting a new agrarian reform program to arrest the “root of the agrarian unrest” fueling the country’s insurgency problem.

Former agrarian reform chief and government peace panel member Hernani Braganza said the Duterte government wants to end the fighting through asset distribution.

“We are gearing up for free land distribution with just compensation, of course,” he said.

Braganza added that one major highlight of Caser is agrarian reform which is the second among the four substantive agenda in the peace negotiations. It started in 2001 and in 2004, only the preamble and declaration of principles were so far agreed upon.

National Democratic Front (NDF) peace panel consultant for Constitutional and Political Reforms Felix Randy Malayao has said that “the revolutionary movement recognizes the right of the Cordillera people for self-determination, just as it recognizes the rights of the Moro and Lumad peoples.”

He stressed, “national oppression is not the only problem among Cordillerans. They suffer under the yoke of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

“Any genuine autonomy and struggle for self-determination should address these three basic problems,” he insisted.

Meanwhile, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, chairman of both the RDC and RPOC said, the attainment of a just and lasting peace is a key foundation to realize inclusive growth and sustainable development in the Cordilleras.

THOM F. PICAÑA

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