House ratifies bicam report on CARP extension

July 29, 2009 9:32 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, July 29 — The House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon ratified the report of the bicameral conference committee extending the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Under the bicameral report, both the House of Representatives and the Senate agreed for the extension of the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of CARP for five years retroactive to July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2014.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, principal author of House Bill 4077, said funding support for CARP during the extended period will be at least P150 billion.

Under the approved bicameral report, conversion of irrigated and irrigable lands is prohibited in order to enhance food supply and security in the country.

It also stopped the voluntary land transfer (VLT) scheme component of CARP, which, according to lawmakers, has been documented to have been used for "simulated" and "flawed" coverage.

Effective July 1, 2009, the only modes for acquisition of the remaining private agricultural lands are compulsory acquisition and voluntary offer to sell (VOS), said Lagman.

The bicameral conference committee also approved the inclusion of "seasonal" farmers as agrarian reform beneficiaries in the extended implementation of CARP.

Members of the bicameral committee said that seasonal farmers could be considered as CARP beneficiaries but as last priority and/or provided the farmer beneficiary "waived" his/her right to own land.

In her state-of-the-nation-address last Monday, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called on both Houses of Congress to pass the CARP extension bill. (PNA)

vcs/LGI

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