The national farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) said that its members are bracing for the effects of president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s pushing of his public-private partnership program.  The group said that it would definitely displace many farmers and implement massive land-use conversion.

“First of all, public-private partnership or PPP is not a new concept, it is build-operate-transfer or BOT only with a changed name.  Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the past presidents have implemented it during their terms,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General in a press statement.

“As any projects that changed the use of the lands, PPP would result the dislocation of many Filipino farmers, such as what Southern Tagalog farmers have experienced with the Calabarzon project, Central Luzon farmers with the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (Sctex), the very root cause of the killing of Pascual Guevarra, the first peasant EJK victim of the Aquino government,” Ramos said.

The groups said that the Aquino government has released a list of 10 projects up for grabs for foreign investors, including the extension of LRT to (1) Bacoor, Cavite and (2) Masinag junction in Antipolo, new airports in (3) Daraga, Albay, (4) Puerto Princesa, Palawan and (5) Bohol, (6) city terminal for the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Pampanga, (7) privatization of Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental, (8) expressway connecting the North and South Luzon tollways, (9) Cavite-Laguna expressway and (10) supply of treated bulk-wate in Metro Manila.

“We have heard of this projects since Arroyo’s term, especially the airport in Daraga, Albay as peasants, fisherfolk and urban poor are already organizing against the project,” Ramos said.

“Also, these infrastructure projects are all part of Arroyo’s ‘super-regions’ program, thus, Aquino is simply continuing it.  They are totally the same in favoring foreign interests than of the Filipinos,” he added.

The group is also preparing for the construction of the inter-modal station of the MRT 7, planned at Bgy. Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.  They said that the lands are under dispute between the landlord Aranetas and the farmers but was considered to be a site.  In addition, more than a thousand farmer families are threatened to be displaced from the 3,100-hectare agricultural lands of Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) as the Sctex are being constructed towards the Aurora province.

“The PPP program is in total disregard of the farmers’ rights to land and Aquino is treating us like insects and cockroaches that needed to be annihilated,” Ramos said.

“Programs such as the Metro-Luzon Urban Beltway (Mlub), Sctex, connecting Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (Apeco), Cagayan Special Economic Zone, the R1 road project in Cavite, are all to favor foreign interests and to result the dislocation of farmers, fisherfolk and urban poor,” he said.

The groups added that the burden of these projects, aside from being capitalized from taxpayers’ money, would surely be passed on to the commuting public and consumers as proven by the proposed rate increases of the North Luzon Expressway (Nlex) and South Luzon Expressway (Slex), LRT and MRT.  These projects were done through build-operate-transfer schemes and foreign investors are now planning to rake up more profits from the public.

“This is the ‘change’ Aquino has promised, increase in the cost of living, worse poverty and misery for the Filipino people and super-profits for the foreign monopoly.  The basic sectors are doomed under the Aquino government, thus, we have no choice but to oppose every projects or programs that threaten our livelihood and homes,” Ramos called. #

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