BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Contributed to Bulatlat.com
August 11, 2008 – 12:59 p.m.
More than a thousand members of peasant groups and supporters have started camping out at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Aug. 11, to protest the cases of land grabbing in the provinces of the Southern Tagalog region.
The Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Alliance of Peasant Organizations of Southern Tagalog Region or Kasama-TK) said that the Yulo and Ayala families have illegally obtained more than 20,000 hectares of agricultural lands. Thousands of peasants in the provinces of the region have been dislocated.
In an interview, Imelda Lacandazo, national vice-chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP – National Peasant Movement) and treasurer of Kasama-TK, revealed that in spite of the decade-long negotiations with the DAR officials, the abuses of the Ayala and Yulo clans regarding the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) remain unsolved.
“The conversion of the said lands is ongoing notwithstanding the issuance of CLOA [certificate of land ownership agreement] by the DAR. All of the cases filed against the two powerful clans, remain unsolved or have been dismissed by the courts,” Lacandazo said.
The peasant leader said that the lands are to be converted into industrial, commercial and residential uses.
She also said that comprehensive case studies on the implementation of comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP) will be sent to Malacañang and other institutions. Lacandazo said that studies show that the program is a sham and has only wasted the people’s money.
Lacandazo also said that they will continue to push for the passage of the House Bill 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill filed by the late Anakpawis Representative Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran.
Joining the camp-out are Pambansang Lakas ng Mamamalakaya sa Pilipinas, Inc. (National Strength of Fisherfolks in the Philippines, Inc. or Pamalakaya), Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (Union of Agricultural Workers or UMA), Amihan (National Federation of Peasant Women) Anakpawis partylist (Toiling Masses Party) and student advocates from Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and University of the Philippines (UP)
“This camp-out is just an appetizer,” says Lacandazo. (Bulatlat.com)