The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was designed to implement the redistribution of agricultural lands to farmers. Circumstances of peasant workers however show that CARP is only being used as a smokescreen for corruption and ‘agrarian pork’.
CARP is only true to newspapers, radio and television reports but does not happen in reality. In fact, this was revealed by the Department of Agrarian Reform Employees Association (DAREA) who are pushing for genuine land distribution along with different militant groups in the midst of attempts by big land lords to block its full implementation, particularly in Hacienda Luisita.
Hacienda Luisita has long been the unfortunate point of reference of how CARP has failed in ending the land monopoly of big landlords and foreign corporations in the country.
Three decades of CARP only allowed farm workers, in the case of Hacienda Luisita, to experience a wide range of deceit and terror at the hands of the Cojuangco-Aquino haciendero clan and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
Sting Tapia of the Agrarian Reform Program Office says that big landlords are blocking the distribution of lands to small farmers. Among them are former Land Transportation Office Chief Virginia Torres and Rep. Noel Villanueva, who is a former mayor of Concepcion, Tarlac.
Tapia disclosed that the scheme of the hacienderos is to make it appear as though the land beneficiaries have pawned their land titles for unknown reasons, hence letting them control a large portion of land. Farmers were forced to pawn or sell the lands that should have been their property due to poverty.
Last February, Catholic Bishops are calling for DAR Secretary Gil Delos Reyes’ ouster, saying that its implementation of land reform has been snail-paced.
Malacañang denied the allegation, and said that DAR records showed that land distribution was lowest only in 2009 when it gave away 59, 495 hectares. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda also emphasized that De Los Reyes is an agrarian reform advocate.
However, it is impossible to believe that a supposed agrarian reform advocate would be in favor of a pro-landlord agrarian reform law such as CARPER.
It is therefore the height of hypocrisy that someone who claims himself an agrarian reform advocate would be an ally of President Aquino, who is in fact, the biggest landlord of them all.