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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 6, 2016
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‘Agrarian Reform Commission
not directed at sugar industry'

Rep. Leni Robredo, Liberal Party vice presidential aspirant, yesterday clarified that House Bill 5841, or the Agrarian Reform Commission Act, was not directed against any particular industry.

“There seems to be a misunderstanding that it was directed specifically for sugar planters, it was not,” said Robredo, who co-authored House Bill 5841.

The reason why she authored the bill is that she sits as vice chair of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, and there had been several cases filed before the body alleging anomalies in the identification and distribution of land, Robredo said.

All of these cases filed involved rice lands on properties in Luzon, there were no properties in the Visayas or devoted to sugar cited, she said.

The bill seeking the creation of the Commission was intended to put a stop to anomalies concerning land distribution, she said.

She said the biggest failure of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform has been inability to provide adequate support services to beneficiaries.

Robredo also clarified that the House and Senate have approved the Salary Standardization Law, the problem is that both Houses of Congress have different versions.

There is a deadlock at the bicameral conference committee level, the President cannot act on the SSL until the bicam report is released.

“We are expecting that the bicam (members) will continue working on it until they break the deadlock,” she said.

On the failure of some Sanggunians in Negros Occidental to approve the annual budgets of their cities that has hampered the implementation of projects, Robredo said that should amendments be made to the Local Government Code she prefers that wholesale changes be done.

She said a task force of people with long experiences in local governance could be created to address the amendments needed.*CPG



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