More than 200 farmers and fisherfolk started camping out to protest against the planned Charter Change by the administration coalition in the Lower House. The protesters gathered at the south gate of the House of Representatives today.
House Resolution 737, authored by House Speaker Prospero Nograles, was approved by the committee on constitutional amendments last February and would be up for plenary debates anytime. The Speaker also declared that he would file today Kampi president and Rep. Luis Villafuerte’s controversial draft resolution seeking to convene congress into a constituent assembly.
Members of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), its Southern Tagalog affiliate Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK), Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list began their 54-day camp out dubbed as “Rural People’s Camp-Out for Genuine Land Reform and Against Charter Change.”
The camp-out will culminate on June 6.
Danilo Ramos, KMP secretary general, said, “We want to register our collective resolution in favor of genuine land reform and on the other hand, our wholesale condemnation of Cha Cha which seeks to open up the country’s agricultural lands for 100 percent foreign ownership and perpetuate the criminal Arroyo gang to power at the expense of farmers and rural people, and to the detriment of people’s sovereignty and national patrimony.”
Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya national chair said, “The Manila government, including the reactionary and rubber stamp Congress will be rocked by series of protests against Charter Change.
The groups reiterated their demand for the passage of House Bill No. 3059 or Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), a bill authored by militant party list lawmakers—the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran, Anakpawis party list Rep.. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna party list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.
The bill seeks to provide free distribution of all agricultural lands to landless farmers.
Farmers and fisherfolk from Rizal, Laguna, Batangas, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Negros Island, Bukidnon, Ilocos, Cordillera and Bicol regions, are expected to join the camp out.
Anakpawis party-list Representative and KMP Chair Rafael Mariano said the peasants would stay and stake it out in Congress “until the House leadership would do away with this Cha-cha foolishness with finality”.
“Instead of decisively acting on the peasantry’s clamor for a new and genuine land reform, Ms Arroyo is hell bent on pushing her self-serving agenda,” Mariano said.
Other anti-cha-cha groups are preparing a motorcade tomorrow starting from the St. Peter’s Church in Commonwealth Avenue going to Batasang Pambansa. (Bulatlat.com)