Land grabbing, eviction
The legislators further said, “This sham joint resolution further strengthens the landlords’ monopoly and control over vast tracts of agricultural lands in the country and will surely lead to the massive eviction of peasants and land-grabbing in the countryside.”
Mariano explained, “Mapupuno ang kamay ng DAR ng petitions for exemptions, land-use conversion, cancellation of CLOAs and EPs.” (DAR will be flooded with petitions for exemptions, land-use conversion, cancellation of CLOAs and EPs.
He said landlords could also pressure local government units to issue zoning ordinances declaring agricultural land as non-agricultural or enter into corporative farming and other non-land transfer schemes.
Under the CARP, the KMP and Pamalakaya revealed, the scope for land distribution had been eroded from time to time. From the original 10.3 million hectares in 1988, the scope was adjusted down by 21.76 percent to 8.1 million hectares.
Globalization, Charter change
Mariano said that the VOS and VLT schemes conform with the World Bank model, “The willing to sell, willing to buy formula without government intervention is what the World Bank calls market-assisted land reform,” he explained.
“This suits globalization. Eventually, 100 percent foreign ownership of land would be allowed through Charter change,” he added.
Mariano said that after six months, foreign corporations and local landlords would have lorded over vast tracts of land, leaving little or nothing at all for distribution to landless farmers.
Attacks against farmers
Mariano said further that the CARP extension would intensify attacks against farmers. “Landlords will continue to criminalize farmers fighting for their land. Killings will also increase.”
He added, “Sa loob ng six months, ilan ang magsasakang pwedeng paalisin o paslangin? Karanasan natin iyan eh.” (In a span of six months, how many farmers would be evicted or killed? This has been our experience.)
According to human rights group Karapatan, 467 peasants have been killed under the Arroyo administration, while 10 were killed this year.
Mariano said that while the government uses bogus agrarian reform programs as a means of deception, repressive measures are also used against farmers.
The peasant-lawmaker said that the landlord-dominated House Representatives proved once again that it is anti-peasant.
Mariano said the peasants have to continue relying on themselves in the struggle for genuine land reform in the countryside. He called on farmers to draw lessons from the struggles of farmers from the Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Looc, Central Mindanao University in Bukinon, among others.
He said that amid threats of eviction, these farmers asserted their right to stay in the land they have been tilling for decades. The Hacienda Luisita farmers, Mariano added, have tilled more than 1,000 hectares of land in defiance of the Cojuangco landlords.
As Villanueva, the farmer from Hacienda Yulo, puts it, “Sa pamamagitan ng lakas ng magsasaka, maipapatupad ang tunay na reporma sa lupa. Kung taumbayan mismo ang may gusto, walang hindi kakayanin.” (Only through the strength of peasants would genuine agrarian reform be implemented. If the people so desires, nothing is impossible.)