CBCP President, 80 others, call on PNoy and lawmakers to pass CARP

By , on March 2, 2015

Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (Photo courtesy of CBCP)
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (Photo courtesy of CBCP)

MANILA — Eighty one Catholic Church officials including the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged anew President Aquino and Congress to pass the pending laws on the 27-year-old Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

In a statement, the group composed of 15 archbishops, 59 bishops, and seven Church administrators renewed their call on the government and members of the Senate and House of Representatives to “give new life and glorious finish” to the CARP.

“In particular, at this time, we appeal to the President to certify as urgent, and to the members of the two chambers of Congress to immediately pass the two proposed laws… which are in various stages of consideration in the Senate and the House of Representatives,” they said in a two-page letter sent to Malacanang.

The prelates are referring to the measures, House Bill 4296, which seeks to renew the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)’s authority to issue notices of coverage and provide adequate funding for support services to agricultural landholdings that have not yet been placed under CARP and House Bill 4375, which seeks to create an independent Agrarian Reform Commission to review the actual accomplishment of CARP and investigate circumventions and violations of the CARP Law with a view to cause these landholdings to be redistributed to qualified beneficiaries.

“Not extending CARP and ensuring the gains of the program is tantamount to disenfranchising at least a million farmers of their right to own the land they till, equitably share in the fruits of their labor and find a path out of poverty,” the prelates said.

It would be recalled that President Aquino certified as urgent the passage of HB 4296, but the House has not yet passed the supposedly priority bill on third and final reading last June 2014.

The senators have already passed the counterpart Senate Bill 2278 but HB 4375, which also remains pending at the House, does not yet have a counterpart measure at the Senate and needs to be certified by the President as a priority measure.

“To the Filipino people’s representatives: please do not allow the agrarian reform program to die a quiet death before its noble mission to finally emancipate and liberate our farmers is fully achieved,” the prelates added.

The Catholic prelates noted that there are still about 708,000 hectares of agricultural landholdings that have not yet been awarded to farmer-beneficiaries of the CARP based on the August 2014 data of the DAR.

Likewise, there is an estimated 1 million to 1.5 million hectares being claimed by the DAR as distributed “are not under the control of farmer-beneficiaries and are suspect as evasions of the law such as lands under collective CLOA (certificate of landownership award) and long-term leaseback agreements and lands distributed as VLTs (voluntary land transfers) and VOS (voluntary offer to sell).”

“Unless these transactions are voided and the land distributed to legitimate farmer-beneficiaries, the landowners and the DAR personnel complicit in the evasions will be rewarded for defying the law,” the group said.

Those who signed the letter are:
1. Most Rev. Jose F. Advincula Jr, DD, Archbishop of Capiz and CBCP Permanent Council West Visayas Representative
2. Most Rev. Paciano B. Aniceto, DD, Archbishop Emeritus of San Fernando, Pampanga
3. Most Rev. Ramon C. Arguelles, DD, Archbishop of Lipa
4. Most Rev. Fernando Capalla, DD, Archbishop Emeritus of Davao
5. Most Rev. Romulo T. dela Cruz, DD, Archbishop of Zamboanga
6. Most Rev. Angel N. Lagdameo, DD, Archbishop of Jaro
7. Most Rev. Florentino G. Lavarias, DD, Archbishop of San Fernando, Pampanga
8. Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, DD, Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro
9. Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, SJ, DD, Archbishop of Cebu
10. Most Rev. Marlo M. Peralta, DD, Archbishop of Nueva Segovia
11. Most Rev. Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, DD, Archbishop of Cotabato
12. Most Rev. Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, Archbishop of Caceres
13. Most Rev. Sergio L. Utleg, DD, Archbishop of Tuguegarao
14. Most Rev. Romulo G. Valles, DD, Archbishop of Davao, CBCP Vice President
15. Most Rev. Socrates B. Villegas, DD, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, CBCP President
16. Most Rev. Isabelo C. Abarquez, DD, Bishop Calbayog
17. Most Rev. Narciso V. Abellana, MSC, DD, Bishop of Romblon
18. Most Rev. Guillermo D. Afable, DD, Bishop of Digos
19. Most Rev. Gerardo A. Alminaza, DD, Bishop of San Carlos
20. Most Rev. Benjamin J. Almoneda Jr., DD, Bishop Emeritus of Daet
21. Most Rev. Ireneo A. Amantillo, DD, Bishop Emeritus of Tandag
22. Most Rev. David William V. Antonio, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Nueva Segovia
23. Most Rev. Pedro D. Arigo, DD, Vicar Apostolic of Puerto Princesa
24. Most Rev. Ricardo L. Baccay, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Tuguegarao
25. Most Rev. Filomeno G. Bactol, DD, Bishop of Naval
26. Most Rev. Jose Colin M. Bagaforo, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Cotabato
27. Most Rev. Sofronio A. Bancud, Bishop of Cabanatuan, CBCP Permanent Council Central Luzon Representative
28. Most Rev. Jose S. Bantolo, DD, Bishop of Masbate
29. Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, SVD, DD, Bishop of Sorsogon
30. Most Rev. Joel Z. Baylon, Bishop of Legazpi
31. Most Rev. Rodolfo F. Beltran, DD, Bishop of San Fernando, La Union, CBCP Permanent Council North Mindanao Representative
32. Most Rev. Patricio A. Buzon, SBD, DD, Bishop of Kabankalan
33. Most Rev. Emmanuel T. Cabajar, C.SS.R.,DD, Bishop of Pagadian
34. Jose A. Cabantan, DD, Bishop of Malaybalay, CBCP Permanent Council North Mindanao Representative
35. Most Rev. Severo C. Caermare, DD, Bishop of Dipolog
36. Rev. Warlito I. Cajindig, DD, Vicar Apostolic of Calapan
37. Most Rev. Precioso D. Cantillas, SBD, DD, Bishop of Maasin
38. Most Rev. Carlito J. Cenzon, CICM, DD, Bishop of Baguio
39. Most Rev. Julito B. Cortes, DD, Bishop of Dumaguete
40. Most Rev. Bernardino C. Cortez, DD, Bishop of Infanta, CBCP Permanent Council South East Luzon Representative
41. Most Rev. Pablo Virgilo S. David, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of San Fernando, Pampanga
42. Most Rev. Edwin A. dela Pena, MSP, DD, Bishop Prelate of Marawi
43. Most Rev. Francisco M. de Leon, Auxiliary Bishop of Antipolo
44. Manolo A. delos Santos, DD, Bishop of Virac
45. Most Rev. Reynaldo G. Evangelista, DD, Bishop of San Pablo
46. Most Rev. Buenaventura M. Famadico, DD, Bishop of San Pablo
47. Most Rev. Elenito G. Galido, DD, Bishop of Iligan
48. Most Rev. Leopoldo C. Jaucian, SVD, DD, Bishop of Bangued
49. Most Rev. Jacinto A. Jose, DD, Bishop of Urdaneta
50. Most Rev. Angelito R. Lampon, OMI, DD, Vicar Apostolic of Jolo, CBCP Permanent Council South Mindanao Representative
51. Most Rev. Roberto C. Mallari, DD, Bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija
52. Most Rev. Jose R. Manguiran, DD, Bishop Emeritus of Dipolog
53. Most Rev. Wilfredo D. Manlapaz, DD, Bishop of Tagum
54. Most Rev. Renato P. Mayugba, DD, Bishop of Laoag
55. Most Rev. Joseph A. Nacua, OFMCAP, DD, Bishop of Iligan
56. Most Rev. Vicente M. Navarra, DD, Bishop of Bacolod
57. Most Rev. Nereo P. Odchimar, DD, Bishop of Tandag
58. Most Rev. Honesto P. Ongtioco, DD, Bishop of Cubao
59. Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila
60. Most Rev. Honesto Chaves Pacana, SJ, DD, Bishop Emeritus of Malaybalay
61. Most Rev. Patrick Daniel Y. Parcon, DD, Bishop of Talibon
62. Most Rev. Juan de Dios M. Pueblos, DD, Bishop of Butuan
63. Most Rev. Lucilo Quiambao, DD, Bishop Emeritus of Legaspi
64. Most Rev. Antonio R. Ranola, DD, Bishop Emeritus of Cebu
65. Most Rev. Gabriel V. Reyes, DD, Bishop of Antipolo
66. Most Rev. George B. Rimando, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Davao
67. Most Rev. Jose Corazon T. Tala-oc, DD, Bishop of Kalibo
68. Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD, Bishop of Novaliches
69. Most Rev. Julius S. Tonel, DD, Bishop of Ipil
70. Most Rev. Emmanuel C. Trance, DD, Bishop of Catarman
71. Most Rev. Leopoldo S. Tumulak, DD, military ordinary
72. Most Rev. Crispin B. Varquez, DD, Bishop of Borongan, CBCP Permanent Council East Visayas Representative
73. Most Rev. Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, DD, Bishop of Pasig
74. Most Rev. Ramon B. Villena, DD, Bishop of Bayombong
75. Rev. Edito S. Bano, Apostolic Administrator of Mati
76. Rev. Elino S. Esplana, Administrator of Boac
77. Rev. Carlito R. Garcia, Administrator of Kidapawan
78. Rev. Msgr. Jose T. Lagdameo, HP, JCL, Administrator of Gumaca
79. Rev. Daniel O. Presto, Administrator of Iba
80. Rev. Rey Jose D. Ragudos, Administrator of Alaminos
81. Rev. Joseph W. Requino, Vicar Apostolic of Bontoc-Lagawe