MANILA, Philippines–President Benigno Aquino III’s Cabinet officials would be on hand to meet with the representatives of farmers marching to Malacañang to press for faster land distribution in accordance with the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reforms.
Secretary Edwin Lacierda, President Aquino’s spokesperson, said he, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agrarian Reform Secretary Gil Delos Reyes and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala would have discussions with the farmers when they arrive at the gates of Malacañang expectedly on June 8.
Aquino left Monday for a week-long trip to the United Kingdom and the United States.
“The (farmers’) projected arrival is June 8. They’re planning to come to Malacañang. We are going to meet with them, we are more than glad to meet with them,” Lacierda said in Tuesday afternoon’s news briefing at the Palace.
Abad is a former agrarian reform secretary, having served the department in 1990 during the administration of then President Corazon Aquino, the late mother of the President.
Lacierda, meanwhile, scored Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo for coming up with the statement that the Aquino administration registered the lowest agrarian reform accomplishment rate.
Lacierda said the lowest was in 2009, when the DAR only distributed 59,495 hectares. It was the year the 20-year CARP expired.
He said the Aquino administration distributed 111,889 hectares in 2011.
“There is a serious campaign to distribute land,” Lacierda said.