“Hindi lang ang mga magsasaka, pero lahat ng sektor ang kinakailangang lumaban tungo sa pagpapatupad ng tunay na pamamahagi ng lupa sa pamamagitan ng GARB (Not only the farmers, but all sectors need to fight for genuine land reform through GARB)”, Kabataan Partyllist representative Terry Ridon said in his talk at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication Auditorium yesterday.
Farmers, students, youth organizations, cultural groups, labor unions, religious groups, and the media took part in a symposium held yesterday entitled “Drawing The Line: The Need for a Genuine, Thorough-going, and Redistributive Land Reform.”
National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chairperson Rafael Mariano, and Anakpawis Party list representative Fernando Hicap also attended the said event.
Terry Ridon emphasized the nullity of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the need to disseminate to the public the fact that the CARP and the CARPER are artificial land reform measures catering to the class interests of the landlords. As to the status of GARB in Congress, Ridon said that the Makabayan bloc is taking the necessary steps, albeit gradual, to ensure the passage of the bill. Attorney Jobert Pahilga of Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA) discussed the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) as the alternative for CARP, exhaustively pointing out its important features such as the classification of land to be distributed and the prohibitions to be necessitated once land distribution is done.
Related to the issue of agrarian reform in the Philippines, Dr. Carol Araullo of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) explored the threat of President Aquino’s charter change and term extension. Araullo specifically put forward the severe drawbacks that the insertion of the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions would bring to agrarian reform. She raised concerns over alleged cases of agricultural lands being seized by corporations, thus opening business opportunities for foreign investors.
At the end of every talk, the hosts of the event asked the audience if they agreed to the passage of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill as an alternative to the CARP and CARPER. Everyone responded with a resounding “Yes!”
Drawing the Line was initiated by Pagkakaisa Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (PATRIA), in cooperation with the UP College of Mass Communication, the UP CMC Student Council, and the National Network for Agrarian Reform Advocates (NNARA Youth).