Senator Roxas breaks his silence in his vote on Enrile and CARP

Friday, January 9, 2009 | posted in , , , , , , , | 0 comments

Much has been said about Senator Mar Roxas' vote to oust then Senate President Manny Villar and replace him with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

Many people, including me, were disappointed with Senator Roxas' abstention to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension Bill (CARP) despite its swift passage in the Senate.

But now, Senator Roxas has broken his silence on the issue.

In his Facebook account, he shared his notes on why he voted to oust then Senate President Villar and abstained in the CARP Extension bill.

After reading it, I got his point on CARP. The extension was just a short-term solution. It was like extending a toothless law. He advocates for a real land reform.

Below is the transcript about his explanation on the two issues:
Hi all. I've been reading and replying to private messages during the Christmas break and I thought I'd share some of them with everyone.

Here's one regarding Senate President Enrile: Nagtatanong po kayo kung bakit ko binoto si Senator Enrile para maging SP (You were asking why I voted for Senator Enrile to be the Senate President). This isn't the most pressing issue now, but in the spirit of transparency, I'd like to tell you why I voted for him. Back then it had come down to a choice between the then-SP or anyone else. We could have let the days dragged on with a leader we couldn't trust anymore... but the Senate simply can't function in that manner. Sen. Enrile was the only one who we could agree on enough to muster the necessary votes to replace the then-SP.

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Here's another one regarding my take on the CARP Extension: Lets be honest here: This so-called extension bill does not work. It does not extend the program. It merely extends funding for land acquired before the program expired. There will be no new acquisition and distribution of land with this bill. And even when land is distributed, our farmers still don't have adequate tools and know-how to make use of it. The land merely becomes idle or is sold back to the original landowner.

So, for me, voting yes to this bill would have meant betraying the very spirit of land reform. You may ask, then, why didn't I just say no in the first place?

Because a no symbolizes that I am against land reform per se. Or it might be interpreted as that by some sectors or entities. I didn't want that message to come across.

I do favor the implementation of CARP, but we don't need another version of an incomprehensive agrarian reform program. What we need are reforms that carry weight, not extensions of toothless laws. The CARP should be a genuine vehicle for social justice and economic development.

We still have time to craft a land reform law that could only be implemented by the next administration, which would be more dependable than this Arroyo regime. The new law must include services like low-interest and long-term credit facilities; seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation; and adequate drying and milling capabilities.

Neither a yes or a no would have worked in this particular case. I abstained because I stand for real land reform. And I'm hoping we could work together to achieve that. Thanks though for being genuinely interested in the plight of our farmers.



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Kevin Ray N. Chua

Kevin Ray N. Chua is a 19 year-old blogger from Cebu City, Philippines and an IT Student at Cebu Institute of Technology.

He is currently the Secretary General of the CIT-SSG.

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