Peasant March for Land and Justice
The militant farmers organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) said that peasants under their organization are already preparing to intensify their campaign to call for genuine land reform.  The group is particularly pushing for distribution of agricultural lands that are now being grabbed by big landlords, converted by real estated developers and foreign investors.  About 15 regional chapters from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao is consolidating and informing their members that nearing 100 days of Aquino presidency, no change has been realized, land reform remains elusive and unattainable.

“We launched the peasant camp-out since June 30 to challenge president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to effect change in our country, but all he has done were anti-people and anti-peasant policies such as the absence of land reform, pushing for Public-Private Partnership projects, the clinging of the Cojuangco-Aquinos of Hacienda Luisita lands, the planned increase in rates of power, water, transportation and other social services, the budget cut to education, National Food Authority and more,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General in a press statement.

The group said that by October, peasants would protest on the 100th day of Aquino presidency and on the 38th anniversary on October 21 of PD 27, Marcos’ bogus land reform program.  It added that peasants under the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA – TK) have sustained the peasant camp-out in front of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Quezon City.  It has been reported that on July 3, they were violently dispersed at Mendiola bridge by the Manila police which resulted 42 arrested and 13 wounded.  The dispersal was ordered by former Manila Police District chief Rodolfo Magtibay who is now on a floating status as consequence of his blunder at the Manila hostage-taking crisis on August 25.

“Southern Tagalog farmers have been calling against the landgrabbing of landlord family Yulo of their 500-hectare coconut lands at Sitio Buntog, Bgy. Canlubang in Calamba, Laguna.  In addition, Hacienda Looc farmers from Nasugbu, Batangas have been defending their farms from occasional displacement led by the Philippine Air Force,” Ramos said.

KMP also carries on the struggle of the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers against Stock Distribution and Cojuangco-Aquino’s maneuverings such as the illegal referendum on August 6 and the mediation at the Supreme Court.  The peasant camp-out serve as launching site of the protests held by the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) and United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU).

In addition, KMP is also to highlight the case of farmers from Negros.  Peasants under KMP Negros is under assault of legal accusations of big landlords in retaliation against their organized cultivation of idle sugar lands across the province of Negros Occidental.  As shared by Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo Foundation (SENTRA)  who recently held a consultation with farmers, the cases total to about 50 ranging from trespassing, malicious mischief, arson and others.   Landless farmers cultivate to about 3,000-hectares of agricultural lands and now benefitting from the fruits of their toil.

KMP would also lead the campaign against displacement, landgrabbing and land use conversion.  Nearest Metro Manila is the planned site of the inter-modal station of MRT 7 in Bgy. Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan covering a foreclosed property of Araneta family sized about 200 hectares.  In addition, agricultural lands in Sitio Parawagan, Bgy. San Rafael, Montalban, Rizal are being eyed as a heritage park for the Pamitinan Caves used as base of Katipuneros during the Philippine revolution against Spanish colonialism.

“The Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan (AMB, KMP Bulacan) would also drum up Rep. Luis Villafuerte’s landgrabbing of 375-hectares productive agricultural lands which the lawmaker plans to convert into an eco-tourism site,” Ramos said.

KMP added that displacements and demolition of farmers’ houses has been on an increasing trend at the first year implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ or CARPer.  

On May 21, elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) including its Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team attempted to demolished the camp-out of Hacienda Yulo farmers in Sitio Buntog, Bgy. Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna.  The farmers are guarding their coconut trees against illegal cutting perpetrated by the Yulos and Ayalas.  On early June, the Manila Southcoast Dev’t Corp. owned by mall-magnate Henry Sy ordered the demolition of 21 peasant houses in Hacienda Looc, Nasugbu, Batangas.  Demolition of farmers’ houses were also reported in Lubao, Pampanga due to Pineda’s landgrabbing, in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, at agricultural lands of the Central Mindanao University (CMU) in Musuan, Bukidnon province where peasants cultivating the lands are being threatened to be displaced.

“In reprisal of the peasant struggle for their rights to lands, the fascist attack continues such as extra-judicial killings and massive militarization in the countryside.  There are now 7 peasants who fell victim to EJK and militarization is wreaking havoc in Southern Mindanao, CARAGA, Eastern Samar, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon and other regions.  In Masbate, 4 peasants including a high school student were massacred and the military set it up as an encounter with the New People’s Army (NPA),” Ramos said.

“There is overwhelming circumstances that oppression and exploitation on peasants continue and the sheer proclamation of Aquino as president did not effect any change.  Filipino peasants across the country have no option but to struggle and to intensify our call for genuine land reform. thus, we call on all sectors to support us in our legitimate claim,” Ramos called. #

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