Bishops, solons hold caucus on CARP extension: Click this LINK for the news report video
Church-led caucus on agrarian reform commences
MANILA, Philippines – Catholic Church officials, legislators and farmers on Tuesday morning started tackling issues surrounding the scheduled extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) at a caucus in Manila.
GMA’s Flash Report said the third Bishops-Legislators Caucus held at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila’s Paco district was likewise attended by representatives from Congress and civil society.
Heads of both chambers of Congress, House Speaker Prospero Nograles and Senate President Manuel Villar Jr, were also expected to grace the meeting, which was moderated by Cagayan de Oro City Bishop Antonio Ledesma.
Among the government officials who showed up early in the meeting were Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Sec. Nasser Pangandaman, Akbayan partly-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, and Rep. Edcel Lagman.
A separate report from radio dzBB said the Catholic Bishops Conference in the Philippines (CBCP) has started discussing courses of action once the CARP Law lapses at the end of June.
Participants also discussed how the current food crisis and changes in the environment could affect genuine agrarian reform as well measures that could be taken to ask the government to allot a bigger budget for the agrarian reform program.
In a related development, the GMA report also said that a group of protesters coming from various peasant groups marched toward the DAR office in Quezon City while the bishops met in Manila.
During their so-called “Flores de Mayo for Agrarian Reform,” protesters carried vegetables and fruits to symbolize their appreciation for the Church’s insistence on the extension of the CARP Law.
Among others, the peasants were calling for the revision of a Supreme Court ruling on the reclassification of agricultural lands as well as the permanent stoppage of land use conversion.
Aside from urging lawmakers to set their sights solely on the implementation of the said agrarian reform law, the group also said that the government should promote massive food production to address the alleged food scarcity in the country. – GMANews.TV