President Benigno Aquino 3rd should shake up the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) if he is serious about full implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by 2016, his last year in office.
The challenge was thrown on Monday by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), which noted that CARP suffered from inept handlers in agrarian department.
“Our advocacy now calls for making DAR more effective because the department’s management is weak. One huge hurdle in completing the program is the ineffective management of DAR,” Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the CBCP’s Public Affairs Committee, said.
Pabillo said if Aquino failed to accomplish the implementation of the CARP two years from now, “he should look into this as under-accomplishment” on his part.
Republic Act 9700, which gave CARP an extension of five years, expired on Monday, June 30.
The President “can continue the legacy of his mother, [late]former President [Corazon “Cory” Aquino], in land distribution. It will be a good legacy for the Aquinos since it was started by Cory and completed by her son [Benigno Aquino 3rd],” Pabillo said.
Last month, Aquino urged the Senate and the House of Representatives to make a priority the passage of House Bill 4296, which seeks an extention of the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of CARP for another two years.
DAR records show that as of May 20 this year, 88,962 hectares are still without notices of coverage (NOC) and Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) for about 550,000 hectares have not been given to beneficiaries.
The CBCP is seen to have played a key role in the passage of the extended CARP in 2009, backing farmers’ groups in pressing the Arroyo administration to speed up land distribution.