CARP extension to deliver lands for sale to foreigners via Cha-cha

The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today announced week-long protests starting Monday next week against the Aquino administration’s moves to amend the 1987 Constitution and the revival of the ‘bogus’ Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The KMP said Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 or the Charter change bill passed on second reading by the House of Representatives last week and is now being “railroaded” on third and final reading seeks to ease the protectionist economic provisions of the Constitution to give foreigners 100 percent ownership of lands, utilities, media, and other resources that was approved on second reading on Wednesday last week. On the other hand, House Bill 4296, a bill seeking to extend the “expired CARP” for another two years is also set to be approved by the House plenary before the June 11 adjournment.

The KMP said that while the lifting of the 60-40 limit on land ownership via Charter change would pave the way for the 100 percent ownership of lands by foreigners, an extended CARP will guarantee the protection of foreign interests in agriculture.

“Where shall Aquino’s Cha-cha get the lands to be put up for sale to foreigners? Obviously, not the lands of big landlords and agri-businesses like the Cojuangco family-controlled Hacienda Luisita but lands already covered and to be covered by the sham CARP under the proposed extension bill. We expect an increase in land reform reversals, exemptions, and land re-concentration under Aquino’s Cha-cha,” says KMP chair Rafael Mariano.

“The sham CARP is set to deliver lands for Cha-cha’s land auction to foreigners,” says Mariano explaining that “extending CARP and its provisions on exemption and exclusion will ensure that vast tracts of agricultural lands occupied by farmers will be put up for sale to foreigners through Cha-cha.”

“In its 26 years, the CARP failed to protect the tenure rights of farmers. Instead, the CARP served as a legal cover to local and foreign land-grabbing with so-called leaseback and agri-business venture arrangements,” says Mariano noting that, among others, multi-national plantations Dole and Del Monte’s continuing control in over 200,000 hectares of lands in Mindanao.

The KMP said that thousands of CARP victims, farmers from Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, and Northern Luzon are set to put up a camp-out in front of the House of Representatives starting Monday next week to oppose Aquino’s Cha-cha and bogus CARP.

“Aquino’s twin anti-peasant legislations, the Cha-cha and CARP extension bills, are bound to worsen land-grabbing and forced eviction of farmers in the countryside,” Mariano warned adding: “Instead, we call on Congress to defy the whims of Malacanang and muster the guts to probe real estate giants and land-grabbers that are unleashing increased violence against farmers.”

The KMP is pushing for House Bill 252 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or the proposed law that seeks the nationalization of all agricultural lands and its subsequent free distribution to landless tillers.

“The sham CARP that expired in June 2014 miserably failed to break land monopoly and address landlessness. A new and truly distributive agrarian reform program embodied in GARB is the only solution to the centuries-old land problem,” Mariano said. #