Environmentalists Back Bishops and Farmers in Seeking CARP’s Extension

Quezon City. An environmental coalition has joined Archbishop Angel Lagdameo in pushing for Congressional approval of a key legislation on agrarian reform and social justice.

Archbishop Lagdameo, who heads the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), earlier cited the farmers for their “noble task of making the earth fruitful” as he implored lawmakers’ compassion for the rural poor.

In a statement made in conjunction with the feast day of St. Isidore, patron saint of the farmers, the EcoWaste Coalition expressed solidarity with the farmers and their supporters as they persevere in getting the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) extended.

The group appealed to the conscience of every lawmaker to respond to the farmers’ plea for humane and just development by extending and funding a reformed CARP.

“We join the country’s peasants, bishops and all champions of rural justice in asking the 14th Congress to work overtime to ensure the passage of an extended and improved CARP,” said George Dadivas, Secretary of the EcoWaste Coalition, said.

“We appeal to all legislators not to give in to peer pressure and ensure that all essential requirements to make the law of real benefit and service to the Filipino farmers will not be watered down or scrapped entirely,” he said.

Dadivas voiced support for a fortified CARP that will, among others, mandate its implementation for a five year period, including compulsory acquisition, provision of collateral free credit and expanded support services, and recognition of other farmers’ legal rights and entitlements.

“As a public interest network committed to environmental, climate and social justice, we find it very important to speak out and add our voice to the just quest of our farmers not only for land to own and till, but for human dignity and freedom from deprivation,” he said.

As it joins the farmers and the CBCP in calling for CARP’s extension, the EcoWaste Coalition also aired its plea for ecological farming that will cut farmers’ dependence on toxic pesticides and other synthetic inputs and halt wasteful and polluting practices such as burning agricultural discards.

The EcoWaste Coalition at their last General Assembly formed a Task Force on Ecological Agriculture to contribute to the pressing need to promote natural and organic farming in light of the increasing problems with chemical pollution and climate change.