Arroyo certifies CARP resolution urgent
MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has certified as urgent a joint congressional resolution that will extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) for six months, Malacañang said, as it appealed for understanding from farmers who have gone on a hunger strike to press for legislation on the matter.
Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said calling for a special session to pass the resolution was a “very distinct possibility.”
Both houses of Congress will go on recess starting Thursday. The CARP will end on December 31.
“The President has certified as urgent a joint resolution extending CARP in its present form for six months to at least forestall the termination of the program,” Claudio told reporters.
Claudio said lawmakers would consult with farmer-beneficiaries under the CARP to draft a “commonly acceptable” bill for its extension.
“What’s important is that CARP is extended and we hope that in that period they would come up with a better deal. We cannot allow the program to lapse and maybe a new law can take its place. Congress needs more time,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of holding a special session to pass the joint resolution, he said: “That is a very distinct possibility. The urgency of the matter is not lost to the Executive branch and Congress.”
Farmers who demand for new legislation on the CARP have been on hunger strike for over two weeks outside the House of Representatives. Several Catholic bishops have joined them.
“It is understandable that the farmers feel that way. But let’s be realistic, Congress goes on recess tomorrow [Thursday] and the resolution extending CARP is a stop gap measure to give lawmakers, the farmers and other stakeholders to come up with a better bill or a set of amendments that could be agreed upon by all,” Claudio said.
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