Press Release
June 10, 2009


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today expressed confidence that the bicameral conference will be able to reconcile all conflicting provisions of the Senate and House versions of the bill extending the Comprehensive Program and come up with a consolidated bill.

Pimentel, a member of the Senate panel in the joint committee, reported that all major issues have been resolved when they held their first meeting Tuesday.

He said the Senate and House panels agreed to extend the CARP by five years more and to raise the funding for the program to P150 billion.

Also the bicameral committee approved a provision that will authorize additional appropriation for the CARP when needed. The funds will be primarily used for acquisition and distribution of farm lands and for providing support to the agrarian reform beneficiaries to make the lands productive.

The consolidated bill will be submitted to the Senate and House of Representatives for ratification up the opening of the regular session of Congress on July 27.

Since the current CARP has a lifetime of six months to expire June 30, the plan is to make the effectivity of the new law retroactive to July 1.

Pimentel said the following were also agreed upon by the Senate-House panel:

1. There is emphasis on gender reference. But the measure respects equality of women and men
    even in agrarian setting.

2. Recognition of value of rural women work even in the home.

    The bill mandates the creation of women's desk in all agrarian reform communities where rural
    women can access to air their grievances against sex discrimination.

3. It respects the women's right to own property and to work even apart from their husbands but
    in accordance with existing laws.

4. The bill prioritizes the right to own CARPed lands - starting from actual farm workers, then to
    seasonal workers if there is extra land for distribution.

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