Zubiri expects Senate to ratify CARP extension bill next week

July 30, 2009 8:53 am 

MANILA, July 30 -– Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is expecting the Senate to ratify the consolidated bicameral conference committee report extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by five more years.

”I expect the ratification of the CARP by next week,” Zubiri said in a Senate media forum on Thursday.

Zubiri said Sen. Gregorio Honasan, sponsor of the CARP extension bill in the Senate, is not ready yet for the CARP ratification.

”I think Sen. Honasan had some clarificatory questions on the House version but, I guess, it’s moot and academic, they’ll end up approving the same version by next week,” Zubiri said.

Last Wednesday, the House approved the bicam committee report of the CARP extension bill which includes the farmers’ demand to extend up to 2014 the compulsory land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component.

The Senate and House panels agreed to extend the CARP by five years more and raise the funding for the program to P150 billion.

The funds will be primarily used for acquisition and distribution of farm lands and for providing support to the agrarian reform beneficiaries to make the lands productive.

Malacañang has certified as priority the passage of the Carp extension measure.

Zubiri said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo proposed in her last Monday’s State of the Nation Address to condone all the loans of the CARP beneficiaries.

”The problem with CARP was that we thought the beneficiaries were happy but they have also loans to pay with the Land Bank. This is about P30 billion and the suggestion of the President is to condone all the titles so that we can give it to the farmers,” Zubiri said.

The CARP Law of 1998 or Republic Act 8532 has been in existence since the administration of former President Corazon Aquino. (PNA)

DCT/jfm/utb

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