MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Farmers and Malacañang officials on Friday held a dialogue for land distribution.
The farmers belonging to Task Force Mapalad are calling on President Benigno Aquino to complete the distribution of land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by 2014, when the CARPER Law expires.
They wanted to seek an audience with the President but Aquino is currently in the United States in an official state visit.
The President was represented in the meeting by Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Agrarian Reform Secretary Gil delos Reyes, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and Presidential Management Staff head Julia Abad. Landbank President and CEO Gilda Pico was also present.
The Palace heard the concerns of the farmers and also conveyed to them what the administration has done in terms of agrarian reform.
Lacierda said the meeting was attended by 27 farmer representatives headed by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, former Sen. Nene Pimentel, Bishop Bernardino Cortez, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines officials, members of the Task Force Mapalad, and other people's organizations
"There was frank exchange of concerns and solutions were discussed by the parties," Lacierda said.
"We will be briefing the president after he returns from the US. The meeting was extensive and very fruitful. The dialogue has paved the way for a better understanding and the Aquino government reiterated its full commitment to agrarian reform," he added.