DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Thousands of members of peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas will hit the streets of Manila on July 24, Monday, in time with the second State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte to press for the implementation of genuine land reform, free distribution of land and the lifting of martial law in Mindanao.
KMP Secretary-General Antonio Flores said the movement will be a nationally-coordinated protest where peasants “will make President Duterte accountable for his unfulfilled promises.”
But prior to July 24, Flores said there will be series of protest actions the peasant group will launch in various towns and regions nationwide.
Among the activities will be the SOPA or the State of the Peasant Address on July 23 in a planned camp-out at the Department of Agrarian Reform office in Quezon City.
The peasant’s SOPA will push for the implementation of genuine agrarian reform and the lifting of martial law in Mindanao.
Series of pre-SONA actions will also take place in the areas of Quezon, Cordillera, Ilocos, Negros, Panay, Cebu, Davao Region, CARAGA, Northern Mindanao and SOCSKSARGEN.
The actions will include the occupation of lands, protest camp-outs, barricades and an activity they called “Kadenang Magsasaka” that will symbolically link farmers, fisherfolks, the rural women, rural youth and agricultural workers nationwide to raise their issues and concerns.
“Walang natupad sa mga ipinangako ni Pangulong Duterte. Kaya sa SONA patuloy na igigiit ng mga magsasaka ang aming mga panawagan at sisingilin si Duterte (Nothing was fulfilled in President Duterte’s promises. The farmers will continue to push for Duterte’s accountability during the SONA),” Flores said.
“While DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano is exerting serious efforts to address landlessness and many problems resulting from the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, President Duterte has not made any clear-cut policy on genuine land reform,” said Joseph Canlas, chairperson of KMP.
Canlas asserted that farmers defending their lands are being executed – a total of 66 farmers and peasant leaders were already killed under the administration of Duterte.
“On top of the military’s all-out-war against the people, martial law in Mindanao has intensified human rights violations, bombings and humanitarian crisis in rural areas,” he added.
The peasant group said monopoly on land and its control by few families continue to persist in the country.
“Duterte has failed the peasant sector. There is no genuine land reform,” said Bert Autor, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bicol.
Autor said land monopoly in the country persists as vast tracts of lands “remain in the control of a few landed families.”
Meanwhile, he said thousands of hectares of lands are devoted to foreign-owned plantations.
“It’s 2017, but haciendas still exist. The hacienda system perpetuates the landlessness and poverty of farmers,” Autor said.
KMP will also demand the return of the coco levy fund to coconut farmers. (davaotoday.com)