Hon. Rene Lopez Relampagos, Bohol First District and third-time Representative is installed as the new chair of the House of Representatives Committee on Agrarian Reform in the Seventeenth (17th) Congress. The announcement was made in plenary session last August 3, 2016. The post was held in the 16th Congress by Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Jr. of the lone district of Ifugao.
â€œI am humbled to have been given the position,â€ the lawmaker said. â€œFrom my first to the last term as Congressman, I have always been fortunate to head a specific standing Committee at HOR. This is a privilege given only to a few.â€
During the 15th Congress, in his first term as representative, Relampagos chaired the House Committee on Human Rights and during the 16th Congress, he was chair of the House Committee on Tourism.
The Committee on Agrarian Reform, under the Rules of the HOR, has the following jurisdiction: â€œAll matters directly and principally relating to agrarian reform, the resettlement of and other support services for agrarian reform beneficiaries, and the implementation and amendment of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.â€
â€œAs chair of this Committee, I would certainly look into the plight of agrarian reform beneficiaries and push to remove oppressive conditions against them. Proposed measures to strengthen the CARP have long been pending in Congress. There is also a need to investigate and penalize violators of the CARP law,â€ the lawmaker said.
He continued, â€œAdmittedly, agriculture remains one of our major economic potentials and if given proper policy framework, this could be one of the primary economic boosters in the years to come. Let us take care of our farmers.â€
Rep. Relampagos vows to work closely with Rafael â€œKa Paengâ€ Mariano, a former colleague during the 16th Congress and now Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform.
Agrarian reform is concerned with the relation between production and distribution of land among the farmers. It also concerns the processing of the raw materials that are produced by farming the land from the respective industries.
There can be different types of agrarian reform measures like credit measures, integration of land and training of the farmers. The measures also focus on securing the rights of the farmers, the rights of the peasants working on leased land and aiding them in availing loans from private sectors. The government must also offer support services to the farmers which complement the other measures. They also run campaigns to increase the camaraderie level between the farmers.
The House Committee on Agrarian Reform has 40 members. To date, Reps. Teddy Baguilat, Jr. of Ifugao, Raul Daza of Northern Samar, Edcel Lagman of Albay and Tom Villarin of the Akbayan partylist have already manifested their intentions to be members of the said Committee. Ms. Rita Macabulos is Committee Secretary.