CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY , Philippines – “No amount of pretending to distribute land ownership certificates, be these token or fake, can cover up his selfish and ugly role as an ultra-reactionary part of the oligarchy.”
This was the reaction of Community Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison to the pronouncement of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte who in his speech here Wednesday evening belittled the revolutionary struggle waged by the Communist rebels in the country.
Duterte visited the city to lead the distribution of the Certificates of Land Owners Award (CLOAs) to some 3,400 agrarian beneficiaries, covering 5,808 hectares, in Northern Mindanao, at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines on Wednesday.
Despite Duterte’s “supposed familiarity with the revolutionary movement in the Southern Mindanao region,” Sison said, the President pretends “not to know the great achievements of the movement and its government in mass organizing, public education, land reform, production, health care delivery, cultural work, disaster relief and rehabilitation and other endeavors for the benefit of the people.”
Sison was referring to Duterte’s statement that the CPP and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) “haven’t done anything… everything that you died for, the idea, your theology and politics, all of it came from Sison’s brain.”
Duterte also took a stab at the demand of the Communist insurgents for land and remarked about what happened in Sagay City, Negros Occidental, where nine sugarcane farmers were killed by armed men on October 20.
“To my brothers and sisters who are with the NPA, if you want land distribution, slow down and wait because we will claim even the privately-owned lands, but we will do it in accordance with the law,” Duterte said.
Following the shooting in Sagay, Duterte said he has ordered Agrarian Reform Sec. John Castriciones to prioritize the distribution of lands covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Negros and elsewhere.
“I told him to give everything up for land reform there in Bacolod. For the beneficiaries who were unable to benefit from it, I ordered Secretary Castriciones to give it away. But don’t steal and kill people because if you do, my order to the police and the military is to have you evicted,” the President cautioned.
Duterte said he would give the lands to qualified beneficiaries, but told them it can’t be done overnight and that there was no need for forcible occupation of such properties.
“Just wait because I can’t speed things up,” he said.
In contrast, Sison said, “Duterte has been a brutal and corrupt bureaucrat capitalist serving the interest of foreign corporations, the big compradors and landlords in plantations, logging, and mining.”
By making false charges of murder against the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) in Negros Occidental, Sison said Duterte is turning the victims of the Sagay massacre into culprits because he is in cahoots with the big landlords in Negros.
“Duterte is using the brute power of the state to defend his fellow landlords and cover up their crimes against the farm workers and peasants,” the Communist leader said.
In a statement last week, the NFSW has accused a private armed group with links to some “power landlords” as the ones responsible for carrying out attack in Sagay.(davaotoday.com)