The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III has committed to distributing all farms under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by June 2014.
The President ordered the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to issue notice of coverage for all agricultural lots 25 hectares and above by December 2012. Other agricultural landholdings 10 hectares and below will be placed under notice of coverage by July 2013.
The agreement was reached during Aquino's two-hour meeting with farmer-leaders of Task Force Mapalad (TFM) and several religious leaders at the Palace Thursday afternoon.
Aquino has also approved the release of P1 billion for support services for farmers for their initial capitalization and socialized credit.
Land Bank of the Philippines has also committed to review its policies in extending loans to farmers.
The President also approved the creation of a multi-stakeholders mechanism where representatives from the church, non-government organizations, civil society organizations, and farmer groups would be monitoring the implementation of CARP.
The government has also committed to fast track the processing of stock distribution options where applicable.
The Department of Interior and Local Government has also committed to set up police outposts in areas where there is resistance from land owners.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government would be ready to finance the full implementation of CARP within the next two years with a P30-billion annual funding.
Aside from Lacierda, other Cabinet officials who attended the meeting were Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad, presidential management staff head Julia Abad, DAR chief Virgilio delos Reyes, and Department of Agricuture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
The farmers, on the other hand, were joined by Bishops Antonio Ledesma and Bernardino Cortez and former Senate president Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel.
Earlier, TFM demanded Aquino to make CARP among his administration's center piece programs just like during the term of his mother Corazon Aquino.
To complete the DAR's acquisition and distribution of landholdings to farmer-beneficiaries, it has to acquire over 200,000 hectares yearly until 2014 to complete the distribution of the remaining 750,000 hectares.
The group also pressed Aquino to commit to completing the distribution of farms with notices of coverage with a budget even after the June 2014 expiration of the land acquisition and distribution phase of the CARP.