Press Release
February 24, 2011

Farmers ask “Is Noynoy content with simply revisiting a revolution?”

“This pro-landlord president is thrilled with just viewing photographs of EDSA People Power I on exhibit at plush Ayala Museum while peasants and majority of our citizens languish in poverty as prices of basic commodities rise, regressive taxes continue to burden our people and budget cuts on essential social services continue to be a norm for governance, not to mention the filth the AFP passes on to the citizens of our country.”

Wilfredo Marbella said this as militant farmers of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) prepare to participate in the multi-sectoral mobilization commemorating the people power revolution that overthrew the imperialist US backed dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr. 25 years ago.

“Noynoy is mesmerized by two-dimensional images of an illusory past event while the appalling three-dimensional and real-time suffering of ordinary Filipinos remain entrenched in our society,” Marbella points out.

“During Marcos’s time, landlessness was the issue for farmers. That was what compelled Cory to declare that agrarian reform would be the centerpiece program of her administration,” Marbella elaborated further.

“We now have a president who rides on the martyrdom of his father and tries to exude the mythical dedication of his mother to ‘democracy’ and yet, given his failure to commit himself to agrarian reform or to peasants’ welfare in his inaugural or his first state of the nation address and even in his first 100 days as president report, provides all Filipinos who subsist on agriculture with a decisive conclusion – agricultural development takes the backseat in his priority list as our nation’s chief executive,” Marbella declares.

“Even today, as in Cory’s term, landlords dominate agriculture, landlessness is widespread, landgrabbers are more brazen, agro-corporations wrestle farmers to servility, genuine agrarian reform is still a far-fetched reality,” Marbella attests.

“The people power revolution in February 1986 was not waged by militarist Fidel V. Ramos or by Martial Law chief architect Juan Ponce Enrile with whom he stands side by side at the blessing of a DND conference room/mini-museum. EDSA I is the culmination of a long-drawn struggle of Filipino masses to free themselves from feudal bondage and colonial subservience,” Marbella heartily explains.

“If these are the types of activities Noynoy participates in and the personalities he dies to be associated with during celebrations of EDSA People Power I, then we can say that the future remains dark to the more than 10 million households whose breadwinners are in the agriculture sector,” Marbella bemoans.

“We peasants have every reason to wear red and black, instead of yellow, not until a national transformation will smash all the structures of oppression and exploitation which this president represents and passes on to every Filipino citizen. We cannot simply sit idly in rain-fed rice paddies or weed-infested coconut groves and watch this president pride himself with images that revisit the past. We will make sure that our interests and the aspirations of more than 90 million stomachs we are striving to satisfy will be at the top of our nation’s agenda,” Marbella swears.###

Reference:       Wilfredo Marbella
                        Deputy Secretary General – KMP
Continuing injustice endured by HLI Agricultural Workers & Central Luzon peasants exemplifies “people disempowerment”

“There is no people empowerment in the case of agricultural workers’ struggles in the Hacienda Luisita (or HLI) land fiasco; it is even a glaring example of how the Philippines can be regarded as a failed democracy!”

This is the assertion of a national militant farmers’ organization regarding the trooping of ULWU & AMBALA agricultural workers and AMGL peasants at the Supreme Court followed by mobilizations at Mendiola & the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) national office today and tomorrow.

“Noynoy Aquino and his oligarch cohorts are painting a rosy picture that the EDSA I ‘people power’ uprising in February 1986 and the current administration are a testimony to change and unparalleled development,” Wilfredo Marbella, KMP Deputy Secretary for Internal Affairs, starts off. “They even have tarps & billboards, spewed across the metropolis, asserting that the late Cory Aquino is an icon of democracy.”

“This iconic depiction of Cory Aquino and her subsequent legacy of democracy are illusions!” Marbella retorts. He goes on to say that these are slogans intended to mask the thievery and wickedness despotic landlords continued to engage in during the first Aquino administration, the succeeding presidencies and down to the current Aquino regime – all these, at the price of people’s struggles.

“One excellently clear and undeniable example of the thievery and wickedness of despotic landlords is the Hacienda Luisita case,” Marbella asserts. “The failure of Cory to place Hacienda Luisita under a genuine agrarian reform program during the revolutionary segment of her administration, under the period after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, after the enactment of the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 or RA 6657 (concocted by a landlord-dominated legislative branch of government), and even up to her very last day in Malacañang is people disempowerment, at its best, and, at its very best, the undisputable roadmap to a failed democracy.”

“Noynoy cannot rejoice, neither has he the right or the proper frame of mind to tell the Filipino people to celebrate the 25 years of EDSA I,” Marbella notes. “The perpetual manipulation of Philippine society, including its economy and politics, by opportunists, oligarchs, kleptocrats and despotic landlords, with Noynoy Aquino as their current commander-representative, even after the overthrow of the despicable Marcos regime and the so-called installation of a ‘democratic’ government under Cory Aquino, is such a shame! It is utter disgrace! It is absolute insanity, most especially with this oligarchy-instigated HLI tragedy in full view.”

“In the 25 years following EDSA I, government agencies are still denying justice to HLI agricultural workers and to some 70% of our nation’s population – peasants and Filipinos whose lives are based on agriculture. Is this the ‘democracy’ Noynoy Aquino intends to pursue and, like his mother, leave as a legacy?” Marbella further laments. “Noynoy should go to a far-flung barrio in the Philippines and look for an EDSA People Power I celebration there or he can even try to cook up one in his own clan’s backyard to accurately check if there are agricultural workers who would honestly commemorate People Power I’s silver anniversary with him.” Marbella concludes.

February 22, 2011
Reference:       Wilfredo Marbella
                        Deputy Secretary General for Internal Affairs – KMP
Militant farmers renew push for genuine agrarian reform

“The time for genuine agrarian reform is now!”

Militant farmers led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) renew their push and call for genuine agrarian reform as they converge at the House of Representatives (HOR) to attend the public hearing on House Bill 374 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill or GARB being conducted by HOR’s Agrarian Reform committee.

“This bill crafted by progressive partylist representatives addresses the issue of social injustice being experienced by farmers,” Danilo Ramos, secretary general of KMP, asserts. He continues to emphasize that “the dimensions of social injustice being concentrated on by GARB are poverty and landlessness, particularly in the rural areas.” These, the KMP secretary general stresses, are the main problems 70% of our nation’s farmers have to contend with day by day.

“Our farmers and the entire agriculture sector now only contribute 18% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) – a far cry from the almost 35% the sector injects into the economy in the 1950’s,” Ramos avows, as he quotes from the position paper of KMP on GARB.

“Their contribution has now been considered insignificant because they are deprived and robbed of the little resource they are profoundly desperate of – land,” he continues. GARB will be the proper remedy and would be the very first piece of legislation to advance free land distribution to farmers,” Ramos optimistically declares.

Even more so, as found in the KMP position paper, GARB recognizes the intrinsic worth and importance of agriculture to our citizenry and its indispensability in national economic development and industrialization because it protects the most vital resource and foundation of our country: the Filipino masses, majority of whom are peasants.

“Our farmers, the primary driving force who feed the nation, who have struggled for so long and at so great a price – even undergoing every form of oppression, exploitation, persecution and violence – are now in a morally upright, legitimate position as they troop to the HOR to personally present their conviction on genuine agrarian reform and its most appropriate legislative expression, HB374 or GARB” Ramos underscores.

“We call on the honorable committee members to listen and to do so attentively to the pleas of our farmers. Their cries are the cries of the entire nation. The land they are clamoring for will be the very land where they plant and where our toiling masses gets its food,” Ramos reiterates.

To dramatize their demand, farmers will transfer agriculturally fertile soil at the gates of the House of Representatives and plant their “calls” for genuine agrarian reform.

Reference:       Danilo Ramos
                        Secretary General – KMP