1. CARP/CARPER’s land distribution excludes many productive agricultural lands.

Agricultural lands already reclassified into other uses before June 15, 1988 are no longer considered agricultural lands even when their actual use is agriculture or for agriculture-derivative production, and even when farmers are still tilling the said lands.

Because of this several productive agricultural lands were excluded from distribution, such as 14,000 hectares Hacienda Yulo in Canlubang, Sta. Rosa, and Calamba, Laguna; the 8650 hectares Hacienda Looc, in Nasugbu, Batangas; the 217 hectares irrigated rice land known as Tropical Lands in Dasmarinas, Cavite; the 6,000 hectares Hacienda Agoncillo in Laurel and Talisay, Batangas, among others.

This resulted to massive displacement of farmers.

2. CARP/CARPERS provide many other land exemptions.

Section 10 of CARP also provided for comprehensive exemption from coverage of prawn farms and fishponds paving the way for exemption of more than 800,000 hectares of lands devoted to fishponds and prawn farms. It also provides for exemption of lands reserved for national defense even when they, or portions of such lands, are not actually used for national defense purposes like the 74,000 hectares Fort Magsaysay Military reservation and the 33,000 hectares in Tapas, Capiz.

It also provided exemptions of lands reserved for school, campuses, or for research purposes even when portion of such lands have not been actually used for said purpose like the 3040 hectares land of the Central Mindanao University (CMU).  Only a fraction of 3040 hectares is actually used by CMU and the rest are being leased to local and foreign agribusiness corporations.

Lands with eighteen percent (18%) slope, even when cultivated by farmers like the 311 hectares Araneta Lands in San Jose Del Monte Bulacan; 400 hectares land of Montalban Resources Trading Inc in Rodriquez Rizal; 76 hectares land of New San Jose Builders also in Rodriquez, Rizal; and thousands of hectares in Patugo, Balayan, Batangas, all of them were exempted from CARP coverage.

3. Even if land was distributed, CARP/CARPER still retains the right of the landowner.

Section 6 of CARP, which was retained by CARPER, provides that the landowner has the right to have five (5) hectares retention and the landowner has the right to choose the area to be retained.

It also provides that children of landowners are entitled to three (3) hectares each as preferred beneficiaries. This means that before the land is awarded to a farmer, every child of the landowner who is 15 years of age, actually tilling the land or directly managing the farm, must be given three (3) hectares each.

Lands eventually awarded to the beneficiaries, moreover, are not given to the farmers for free. They have to pay annual amortization for thirty (30) years, on the basis of the valuation made by DAR, Department of Agriculture, the landowner, and the Land Bank.

4. Farmers who are unable to pay land amortization are evicted from land.

In September 2007, DAR has already reported that 5,049 EPs (Emancipation Patents) while 103,092 CLOAs (Certificate of Land Ownership) were cancelled. That figure did not include pending cases for cancellation of EPs and CLOAs, which may go as high as 50,000 cases. To date, even when asked by congress to submit the data, DAR has not made an actual determination and inventory of how many CLOAs/EP were cancelled.

5. Under CARP/CARPER, landlords had the option to forgo actual land distribution through non-land transfer schemes like the Stock Distribution Option (SDO).

Just like what is being implemented in Hacienda Luisita, arrangement such as leaseback, management contract, grower service contract, corporative schemes, profit-sharing and other non-land transfer arrangements were also used by landowners to maintain control of the land while giving measly sum to the farmer-beneficiaries as share in “income” as they supposedly co-owners of the land.

6. CARP is the “longest-running, most expensive and bloodiest agrarian reform program.”

CARP, which promises land distribution to farmers, has been existent for 27 years already since its passage in 1988 during late President Corazon Aquino’s term. It was then turned into CARPER and extended up to five years until its expiration last 2014. Now, with House Bill 4296, another two-year extension of the law is being proposed.

From 1972 (or the time Presidential Decree 27 was passed) up to June 2005, the government has already paid an average of P500,463 ($9,422.25) per landlord.

The five-year extension of CARP (2009-2014) was also allocated P150 billion budgetary compensation, while the two-year extension of CARPER will be funded by another P150 billion. This would bring a total cost of P341.6 billion of land reform since 1972.

Numerous massacres also happened in the course of the implementation of land reform in the Philippines, including Escalante massacre in Negros, Lumil massacre in Silang, Cavite; Mendiola Massacre, and Hacienda Luisita massacre, among others.

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This article is based from a press release by Sentro Para sa Tunay na Agraryo (SENTRA), a legal institution providing free legal services to farmers since 1988. Until now, SENTRA is pushing for the passing of Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) which they believe will truly address the problem of landlessness and rural poverty. GARB proposes free land distribution and nationalization of agricultural lands.

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