Thursday, April 16, 2009

Farmers Press for the Enactment of CARPER as Congress’s Session Resumes

(This article is taken from CARPERNOW website.)

On the first day of the resumption of the session of Congress, the farmers of Sumilao, Banasi, and Calatagan did not waste any time in pushing for the enactment of the CARP Extension with Reforms bill. In the morning the farmers walked from CARITAS in Manila to the Senate Building in Pasay. There, they stood together in front of the Senate gate and called on the Senators to make good their promise of fast-tracking the enactment of Senate Bill 2666 into law, subject to certain amendments.

Upon arrival at the Senate, members of the farmers’ support groups met with them and expressed continuous support for their campaign. Students from De La Salle University and staff of the DLSU Center for Social Concern and Action expressed before the media people present how they have been witnesses to the farmers’ struggle and why the enactment of CARPER would redound to the benefit of not only the farmers but of all Filipinos. Some of the farmers delivered messages to the members of Congress as they all bared their bodies with the message “PASS CARPER NOW” painted on them. The farmers learned that Senate Bill 2666, CARP Extension with Reforms Bill, has been put as priority agenda at the Senate this week. Unfortunately, its counterpart bill, House Bill 4077 has not been included among the House’s priority agenda for this week.

From the Senate the farmers then proceeded to the House of Representatives in Quezon City in the afternoon. The farmers waited outside the session hall for the arrival of the members of the House and gave them leaflets with their messages to the legislators, saying they will continue to be vigilant in pushing for the enactment of CARP Extension with reforms. The farmers attended the session as guests of Rep. Risa Hontiveros.

Rep. Hontiveros posed an inquiry at the start of the session. She asked about the status of the charter change bill. She said that this bill should not be prioritized over other more important bills such as the CARP Extension with Reforms Bill. Rep. Datumanong said, “There is bill a filed … but this will not be prioritized over other bills. (Its enactment) will go through the process.” Regarding CARPER, Rep. Remulla said, “We have to debate on it because there are other bills pending…filed by BAYAN MUNA and ANAKPAWIS, and that filed by Rep. Villafuerte.” Rep. Hontiveros reminded Rep. Remulla, the Presiding Officer, Rep. Datumanong, and all the legislators present that, “The CARPER bill has already finished second reading while the GARB bill is still at the Committee.” She added, “The House is not just expected to enact the CARPER law. In fact, the House leadership has committed to the bishops that we will enact (the law) before adjournment in June.”

After the session, the farmers again waited for the legislators outside the session hall to thank those who have been champions of CARPER and to convince those who have yet to become supporters of the social justice bill. They were able to talk to Representatives Hontiveros, Ronaldo Zamora, and Edcel Lagman, among others.



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