(Department of Agrarian Reform Logo)

(Department of Agrarian Reform Logo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III should certify as urgent a bill seeking to extend the period of land distribution under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reforms or CARPER, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.

With three months to go before the June 30, 2014 deadline for the issuance of Notices of Coverage, which is also the day the CARPER Law expires, Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr. said it would be difficult to ensure that the remaining 260,000 hectares of private agricultural lands covered by CARP would be distributed to beneficiaries.

Moving the deadline of the NOC issuance will also give the government time to cover other private lands not yet targeted but qualified for distribution.

Baguilat, chairman of the committee on agrarian reform in the House of Representatives, said several lawmakers will file the bill next week.

Baguilat’s call was backed by Coop NatCCo partylist Representative Cresente Paez, who said there is still time to pass the amendment before June 30.

Congress is on break and will resume sessions on May 4.

Baguilat said he was frustrated with the Department of Agrarian Reform’s continued failure to submit proposed amendments to the law that would give the agency more time to issue all NOCs.

“DAR, it seems, has no sense of urgency to complete the agrarian reform program. I am having serious reservations about DAR’s plans on how to fulfill its Constitutional mandate for agrarian reform,” he said.

“I urge the President to compel the DAR to act now and exercise all possible means to guarantee the completion of the agrarian reform program. I sincerely hope that PNoy will extend his political will to fulfill the goal of CARP, which is an unfulfilled legacy of his mother, the late President Cory Aquino’s administration,” he said.

At a hearing a month ago, DAR Undersecretary Anthony Parungao said the department needs more time to issue undistributed NOCs because of numerous problematic and missing land titles.(MNS)