Press Release
February 9, 2010

Aquino aims to complete land distribution under CARPER

Liberal Party presidential bet Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III has vowed to complete the distribution of over a million hectares of private lands during the five-year extension period of the agrarian reform law.

"Ang hinahabol ko ay makapunta na tayo doon sa end ng distribution of lands covered by the agrarian reform law," he said in an online interview with bloggers over the weekend.

Aquino said this would allow government to pour more funds into agricultural extension services, irrigation, farm-to-market roads, to help farmer-beneficiaries.

Some P150 billion have been allocated under CARPER (CARP Extension with Reforms), which was signed into law in August last year, to purchase the remaining 1-1.5 million hectares of private land in the next five years.

Aquino also disclosed that he has already asked his "extended family" to find ways and means to transfer the assets of Hacienda Luisita to farmer-beneficiaries.

"This should be done debt-free to allow the farmers to begin without any financial baggage," he said.

Aquino said while the family could avail of the voluntary offer to sell option provided by CARPER, he did not think it would be in the better interest of the 10,000 farmer- beneficiaries.

"At P10 per square meter, which would be 4.5 billion pesos for 45,000 hectares. That will take care of our debts. Wala nang maibabatikos sa aking issue. But if we do that, the 10,000 farmers will only get less than one hectare and that will not be enough for a single individual, much less an entire family to live on," the LP bet explained.

Aquino said that in working out a solution to the Hacienda Luisita issue, 75% of the shareholders of HLI, which would necessary include the farmer-beneficiaries, should agree to any plan.

"So doon as transfer, ang gusto ng aming pamilya ay huwag maiilipat ang burden sa kanila. Ang gusto ng aming pamilya ay makapagsimula sila nang maganda, at hindi sila naguumpisa na parang nasa mission impossible. Ang mahalaga sa aming pamilya ay makaumpisa sila ng maganda at may magandang hinaharap."

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