The program is basically acceptable in content and praiseworthy in spirit. It can even be said that program is in accord with the noble principle that those who have less in life, should have more in law. It has to be acknowledged that the program has already benefited a good number of poor and humble land tillers.
But the truth begs to be said, many more small and lowly farmers are still anxiously waiting for their piece of land they can call their own translated into reality. The CARP is neither that affirmative of land reform, much less it is comprehensive. The culprit for this contradiction—as usual—is the executive department with its highly paid and much advertised agencies precisely tasked to implement the carp.
It is enough to recall the infamous Mendiola massacre and, more recently; there was the Hacienda Luisita massacre. And since the advent of the present administration, farmers and their sympathizers were being eliminated one by one with neither fear of the law nor any remorse of conscience. And as long as this administration remains in power, it can be safely predicted that the killings also remain in fashion.
In the event that the farmers concerned and their supporters are not actually disposed of for good, they are abused. Threatened or abducted, this is why to this date, there are angry public rallies staged by farmers, not to mention their hunger strikes every now and then. It is already the age of information technology, climate change and scientific marvels but many farmers are still waiting for the right and full implementation of CARP.
And there is the issue of the fund already earmarked for the CARP implementation. Its source is identified and its amount is determined. And as expected, the present administration has other concerns at heart, other interests in mind as far as it is concerned. The CARP funding is a subject matter to be either avoided or considered a non-issue. Thus, the farmers’ rightful questions repeatedly come to fore: Where is the money? What was it spent for? How much is left… if any? Will CARP be still fully implemented at all?
Meantime, the farmers concerned have to wait—as they have been always waiting for decades. The national leadership is busy rebuilding its political survival, busy mouthing economic progress and flying from one country to another.
Poor farmers—not only in resources but also in dignity!
10 June 2007