MANILA, June 7, 2013—A Catholic bishop censured the government for the slow implementation of land distribution to farmers.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo criticized the present administration’s ineptness to fulfill promises particularly the distribution of land to farmers before the agrarian reform program expires next year.

“As we celebrate the 25 anniversary of the of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) on June 10, we also will evaluate the record of the present administration where the President has not delivered on the promises he made to protesting farmers last June 14, 2012 and farmers are alarmed at the failure of government to distribute nearly 1 million hectares of land before the agrarian reform program expires on 2014,” Pabillo said.

Pabillo, who is chair of CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) stressed that when President Aquino took power, government still had to distribute a total of 1, 209,236 hectares to landless farmers.

“From July 2010 to December 2012, Malacañang was able to distribute only 251, 876 hectares representing a measly 21%, leaving a balance of 957,630 to be given away until the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension (CARP) funding expires on June 14, 2014,” said Pabillo.

“DAR records [shows] that the current Aquino administration is the worst performer as far as land acquisition and distribution (LAD) [is concerned] since the CARP was launched by the Cory administration,” he added.

He pointed out that the PNoy administration actually scored the worst record since 1986, distributing only 251, 876 hectares to farmers since July 2010, representing a measly 21% of the total LAD coverage.

“We are calling the government’s attention to enforce the law. It is stated in the law that they need to finish the program before the end of the expiration date on June 2014. We are hoping that they respond. The land reform program is a program for social justice which is about peace. If there is no social justice, there will be lots of chaos and the country will have no ‘tuwid na daan’,” Pabillo said.

Farmers’ group Task Force Mapalad will organize a gathering of farmers on June 10 in the Visayas and Mindanao to protest the dismal performance of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), most especially its Secretary Gil delos Reyes. (Jandel Posion)