FEF Letter to PDI Editor regarding CARP

April 17, 2015 at 16:58


The Philippine Daily Inquirer

Dear Editor,
In his article in your Talk of the Town , Billy de la Rosa states that “CARP: Key to National Development.”
Mr. de la Rosa is being disingenuous. CARP has been going on since 1987. It’s the longest-running land distribution program in the world. And if we are to believe the World Bank, it’s also the most successful, with about 84% targeted lands for distribution having been achieved.
Yet, after 28 years of CARP, have we seen national development, much more rural development? Our agricultural productivity remains low, in fact, the lowest in value added per hectare compared to our Asean neighbors. Poverty is still endemic in the countryside. Quod erat demonstradum. No further evidence is needed to show CARP is a total failure. The successes he cites are South Korea and Taiwan but land reform in these countries was limited to 5 years and to rice lands alone.
The usual excuse is that government support is lacking. No, there’s no lack of resources but government agencies like the Department of Agriculture wastes them in scams like the fertilizer and Napoles scams.
For this very reason, it’s the private sector that must lead countryside agricultural development. However, the private sector will not invest if it’s uncertain that lands will be confiscated, or if they have to go through a long and tedious process just to get DAR clearance, or if they will not be allowed to expand beyond 5 hectares.
The fact is that vested interests have developed in the perpetual extension of CARP, including the Department of Agrarian Reform, which wants to exist forever and extract rent for every approval of land conversion, and NGOs, which make a living in selling the tired nostrum of land reform.
Sincerely yours,

Foundation for Economic Freedom

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