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PIA Press Release
2008/07/30

President Arroyo: "I want rackets out of agrarian reform"

Manila (30 July) -- "I want rackets out of agrarian reform."

Thus President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo warned through her State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) she delivered yesterday (July 28, Monday) before the joint session of the 14th Congress the racketeers over at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and their co-conspirators whose modus operandi takes the following form:

"The threats to take and, therefore, undervalue land; (and) the conspiracies to overvalue it."

The President gave December 2008 as deadline for involved agrarian-reform workers to shape up:

"Be with me on this. There must be a path where justice and progress converge. Let us find it before Christmas.

"Dapat nating linisin ang landas para sa mga ibig magpursige sa pagsasaka, taglay ang pananalig na ang lupa ay sasagip sa atin sa huli kung gamitin natin ito nang maayos."

Talking about the "future of agrarian reform" in the country, the President noted that "there are those who say it is a failure, that our rice importations prove it.

"There are those who say it is a success-if only because anything is better than nothing. Indeed, people are happier owning the land they work, no matter what the difficulties."

"Sa SONA noong 2001, sinabi ko, bawat taon, mamamahagi tayo ng dalawang daang libong (200,000) ektarya sa reporma sa lupa: 100,000 hectares of private farmland and 100,000 of public farmland, including ancestral domains.

"Di hamak na mahigit pa sa target ang naipamahagi na natin sa nakaraang pitong taon: 854,000 hectares of private farmland; 797,000 of public farmland; and Certificates of Ancestral Domain for 525,000 hectares, including over a hundred thousand (100,000) hectares for Bugkalots in Quirino, Aurora, and Nueva Vizcaya…" the President enthused.

Pointing out that it was her late father, former President Diosdado Macapagal, who had started the agrarian reform program in the Philippines in 1963, President Arroyo stressed that "agrarian reform should not merely subdivide misery, it must raise living standards."

"Ownership raises the farmer from his (poverty) but productivity will keep him on his feet. Sinimulan ng aking ama ang land reform noong 1963. Upang mabuo ito, the extension of CARP (comprehensive agrarian reform program) with reforms is top priority.

"I will continue to do all I can for the rural as well as urban poor. Ayaw natin na paglaya ng tenant sa landlord, mapapasa-ilalim naman sa usurero. "Former tenants must be empowered to become agri-businessmen by allowing their land to be used as collateral. Dapat mapalaya ng reporma sa lupa ang magsasaka sa pagiging alipin sa iba.

"Dapat bigyan ang magsasaka ng dangal bilang taong malaya at di hawak ninuman. We must curb the recklessness that gives land without the means to make it productive, and bites off more than beneficiaries can chew." (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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