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“Secretary [Virgilio] delos Reyes enjoys the full trust and confidence of the president,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on government-run dzRB radio, even as she admitted there are “more challenges” in the process of acquiring land to distribute to farmers.
On the other hand, a Presidential Communications Operations Office statement quoted Valte as saying the government has so far distributed 300,000 hectares of agricultural land to 169,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries.
“Admittedly, there are more challenges in the process of acquiring and distributing private lands (because before this), what government was distributing were government-owned land. Now, we are in the process of acquiring and distributing privately owned lands,” she said.
Catholic bishops had voiced dismay over Aquino’s commitment towards genuine land reform, noting the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with extension and reforms (CARPER) ends July 2014.
In a letter to Aquino dated Jan. 24, about 84 prelates, including Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, reminded him of his promise for speedy implementation of the law.
They called on the President to “revamp” the leadership of the DAR, which they said had been under-performing particularly in land acquisition and distribution.
“We are greatly alarmed, however, that barely one a half years from the expiration of CARPER, the accomplishments of DAR have been dismal, to say the least, and many promises made to the farmers in June dialogue are not fulfilled,” the bishops added.
“We, therefore, make common cause with the farmers and many agrarian reform advocates in the call for speedy implementation of this law that touches deeply a grave social justice issue in the country affecting so many poor farmers,” they added. — LBG, GMA News
News Source: GMA NEWS TV
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