NW-411, House of Representatives
10 June 2009
Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, principal author and sponsor of House Bill No. 4077 extending for five years the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), assures agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) that no “killer amendments” have crept into the extended program.
“From the start of the legislative process, we have rejected “killer amendments” and the Bicameral Conference Committee has purged the reconciled bill of any proposal tending to dilute the CARP,” Lagman underscored.
Lagman also said that “reports claiming that the Bicameral Conference has accepted and approved “killer amendments” are completely baseless and smack of inflammatory propaganda.”
The Bicol solon clarified that the amendment proposed by Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia that farmers and tenants actually tilling the land should be the beneficiaries of the landholding which is the subject of coverage is a sound and reasonable proposal based on the constitutional mandate of the “land to the landless tiller.”
“It also obviates the sporadic practice of unqualified outsiders being anointed as beneficiaries,” Lagman added.
Lagman stated that the approved amendment to Section 22 of the original law (R.A. No. 6657) sufficiently qualifies and delimits the Garcia amendment because it makes explicit that seasonal workers and other farm workers can be qualified as beneficiaries after the actual tillers have been accommodated and there is still an excess area for further distribution.
Section 22 of R.A. No. 6657, as amended, reads:
“Sec. 22-A. – A LANDHOLDING OF A LANDOWNER SHALL BE DISTRIBUTED FIRST TO QUALIFIED BENEFICIARIES UNDER SECTION 22, SUBPARAGRAPHS (A) AND (B) OF THAT SAME LANDHOLDING UP TO A MAXIMUM OF THREE (3) HECTARES EACH. ONLY WHEN THESE BENEFICIARIES HAVE ALL RECEIVED THREE (3) HECTARES EACH, SHALL THE REMAINING PORTION OF THE LANDHOLDING, IF ANY, BE DISTRIBUTED TO OTHER BENEFICIARIES UNDER SECTION 22, SUBPARAGRAPHS (C), (D), (E), (F) AND (G).”
The requirement that the landowner should attest to the certification by the Barangay Agrarian Reform Council (BARC) listing the legitimate tillers cannot be used by the landowner to derail land acquisition and distribution because there is a penal sanction for any undue delay in making the attestation.
Section 73 of R.A. No. 6657, as amended in the reconciled bill, includes among the prohibited acts “any undue delay in the compliance of an obligation” under the CARP law.