The 100-day camp-out led by the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK, KMP Southern Tagalog) and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL, KMP Central Luzon) condemned the latest and first extra-judicial killing on peasants, victimizing Pascual Guevarra, 78-year old leader of Alyansa ng Magbubukid na Nagkakaisa sa 3,100 Ektarya ng Fort Magsaysay (ALMANA 3100).  He was shot dead July 9, late afternoon by believed to be agents of the military.  The groups vowed to push further for land reform and kicked off by setting base camp at the central office of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Quezon City.

“We strongly condemn the first EJK on peasants, thus, we would struggle further for land reform by starting to set-up camp at DAR to prepare for days of dialogue with officials regarding agrarian disputes, primarily in Southern Tagalog,” said Danilo Ramos in a press statement, KMP Secretary-General.

“Killings on peasants has always been connected to their struggle for genuine land reform.  Tatay Pascual of ALMANA 3100 was leading their campaign for land distribution of 3,100 hectares inside Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Laur, Nueva Ecija.  They are fighting against the harassment  and displacement efforts of the military, particularly the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army led by Maj. Gen. Ralph Villanueva,” said Ramos.

The groups said that the general and his forces does not recognize the farmers’ Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) which has been the result of the 1991 Deed of Transfer between Dept. of National Defense and DAR signed by then Sec. Renato De Villa and then Sec. Benjamin Leung, of respective offices.  Thus, farmers were consistently harassed, houses strafed at, burned down and communities held like garrisons.  Farmers led by ALMANA 3100, supported by AMGL and KMP held a dialogue at the Camp Aguinaldo on November 17, 2008 and defense officials promised to study the case.

“The past-Arroyo regime victimized at least 561 peasant activists and organizers and Tatay Pascual is the first under the Aquino government.  Hence, we challenge Noynoy Aquino to immediately act to stop the killings and resolve the agrarian disputes all-over the country,” Ramos said.

“Likewise with his ‘wang-wang’ policy, where motorists and government officials are bound to follow traffic laws, we challenge him to distribute Hacienda Luisita so that other landlords and hacienderos are compelled to follow his example,” he added.

The farmers are to dialogue with DAR the issues of Hacienda Yulo in Calamba, Laguna, Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas, Ramos ‘lands’ in Dasmarinas, Cavite, Ciudad Nuevo, KPPI and Cathay ‘lands’ in Silang, Cavite, Sitio Seedling lands in Montalban, Rizal.  Leaders from KASAMA-TK and its provincial chapters from Laguna, Batangas, Cavite, Rizal and lawyers from SENTRA foundation are to discourse with DAR officials.

“We want to know what Noynoy Aquino’s ‘pagbabago’ means or is it plain lipservice and his agrarian policy is likewise anti-peasant such as of Arroyo’s.  We want the whole country to know that land reform issue is fundamental and Aquino should immediately act on this as this is the root of all unrest in our society,” said Ramos.

The groups vowed that they would hold more and heightened protest actions as as Aquino’s first State-of-the-Nation Address comes near on July 26 and followed by the 1st anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ on August 7.  #

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