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Agrarian reform failure has led to squatter problem in cities, says urban poor group

/ 12:06 PM August 08, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — A militant organization has blamed the government’s existing agrarian reform program for a “bloating population” in the cities that allegedly results in “worsening poverty.”

Carlito Badion, national vice chairperson of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap, said that two years after it was signed into law, the “faulty” Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reform (CARPer) has only triggered “massive migration” to urban areas, leading to “fierce competition” among more people for limited land.

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CARPer, which was signed into law, in August 2009, by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, extends the distribution of lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) while incorporating several reforms in the latter’s provisions.

These include among others the strengthening of the ban on land-use conversion by landowners eager to avoid agrarian reform. Under the law, parks, wildlife, forest reserves, fish sanctuaries and breeding grounds, among others, are exempted from CARP.

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The restoration of compulsory land acquisition, or the power of government to acquire private rights in land without its owner’s consent for society’s benefit, is also a key component of CARPer.

But for some reason, the national government, until now, has not been able to expedite the distribution of lands to farmers despite the CARPer.

“CARPer in its two years of existence has never answered the (issue of landlessness) in the countryside… Peasants are (only prompted to move) to cities and urban centers in search (of) alternative livelihood and…jobs (which ultimately result in worsening poverty),” Badion said in a statement.

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TAGS: agrarian reform, Farmers, Housing, lands, Metro, rural development, squatting, urban development, urban poor
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