In a press conference, KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos, Axel Pinpin, secretary general of Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid ng Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Joseph Canlas, chairperson of Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) announced the conduct of the three-day march from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon regions beginning October 18.
Pinpin said more than 1,000 farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous people from Southern Tagalog provinces--- Mindoro Island, Quezon, Batangas, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna will join the long march that will officially kick off in Calamba crossing on Oct.18.
The Kasama-TK peasant leader said the long march to Manila will banner a large effigy of President Aquino, showing the 50-year old bachelor president as chief of the Haciendero Republic and certified puppet of the US government. “The effigy of Aquino which will be shown to the public is both a political statement that Noynoy is the chief of the landlord dominated Republic and the no.1 puppet of Washington D.C in Asia,” Pinpin said.
The Southern Tagalog rural marchers are expected to reach the main office of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Quezon City by 6 pm of October 20 where a vigil will be held before the big rally in Mendiola on Oct.21.
For his part, Canlas of AMGL said, the long march in Central Luzon will start from Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac City and will reach the regional office of DAR on October 18 for a vigil. On October 19, farmers from Hacienda Luisita and 500 other farmers from Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora in Central Luzon, Ilocos and Isabela provinces will stage a peasant caravan from Pampanga to Monumento in Caloocan City where the 1,000 farmers will conduct a protest vigil at Our Lady of Grace Academy.
Canlas said on October 20, Hacienda Luisita farm workers and other farmers in the region will stage a long march from Monumento to Supreme Court in Padre Faura in Manila to demand the immediate scrapping of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and compel the high tribunal to immediately lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) filed by Hacienda Luisita Incorporated and pave way for the urgent and unconditional free land distribution of the 6,453 hectare sugar estate to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.
The AMGL leader said from SC, the farmers will march to the Office of the Ombudsman to pressure the agency to act on human rights violations charges filed against the Cojuangco-Aquino family, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other military officials in connection with the Nov.16, 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre. By 6 pm, the marchers will meet the Southern Tagalog contingent for a solidarity night at DAR.
Ramos said farm workers and farmers in Negros Island led by KMP-Negros and National Federation of Sugar Workers will also stage their own version of Lakbayan on Oct.21. The KMP leader said around 3,000 people will participate in the Negros wide long march.
The KMP said its regional chapters will also conduct protest actions on Oct.21. The KMP-Bicol announced around 10,000 farmers from Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte will take part in the regionally coordinated protest action.
In Cagayan Valley, 3,000 farmers will join the regional rally in Tugegarao City. Simultaneous rallies will also be held in major cities all over the country--Tacloban City in Leyte, Cebu City, Iloilo City, Davao City, Cagayan de Oro City, Butuan City and Surigao City. The KMP projects around 50,000 farmers, fisherfolk, agricultural workers, peasant women and indigenous people will participate in the nationally coordinated protest action against landlessness and injustice under the Aquino administration. #