Joint Resolution No. 29
17 December 2008
Rep. Lorenzo R. Tañada III
I am constrained to vote against the Joint Resolution before us, which, on the surface seeks to extend CARP, a social justice and poverty alleviation program, until June 30, 2009. While at the barest minimum, I am for extending the program, I would have wanted a more responsive agrarian reform program. I, together with other members of the Liberal Party here in the House of Representatives, have actually filed HB 4085 which likewise seeks to amend CARP to fine tune it given the developments and frustrations in the program.
However, Mr. Speaker, what we shall be doing, if ever we pass this Joint Resolution is decimate the whole program. It takes away Compulsory Acquisition among the modes by which land will be acquired and distributed.
We are now in the tail end of the Agrarian Reform Program where lands that are actually difficult to acquire and distribute are the ones lined up for acquisition and distribution. I’m talking about commercial farms and huge tracks of privately-owned lands. To my mind, these are the types of land which should have been prioritized in the land acquisition and distribution program. But if we would go back to Section 11 of RA 6657, the law even provided for a reprieve from compulsory acquisition of commercial lands and they will only be covered by compulsory acquisition ten years after the law is enacted.
By removing compulsory acquisition from CARP in this Joint Resolution, we are in fact removing from the State the power to use the most progressive instrument of the program. By removing compulsory acquisition, we shall be denying the very farmers who have long yearned for real ownership of the land they till, a chance to develop, a chance to get out of poverty, and for the State to deliver a much-delayed social justice program. The six-month extension that this Joint Resolution gives would in fact create a condition for landlords to preposition themselves to eventually evade CARP coverage.
I would have easily supported a Joint Resolution that merely extends the program by another six months and does not tinker with any of CARP’s provisions but the one before us is downright unacceptable.
As such Mr. Speaker, I vote NO to this Joint Resolution.