June 21, 2010
The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) said that peasant unrest would intensify under incoming president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s government as he is showing no signs of commitment to effect change to the worsening landlessness in the countryside. KMP also said that Aquino never mentioned land reform on his platform and he invoked the RA 9700 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with `Reforms’ or CARPer on the Hacienda Luisita issue.
“The peasant struggle would further intensify under the incoming Aquino administration as he is not promising any fundamental reforms on the serious problem of landlessness of Filipino farmers. At present, there is an increasing trend of landgrabbing, dislocation and land use conversion as CARPer nears its 1-year implementation on August 7,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General in a press statement.
KMP also criticized Aquino on his statement that he will distribute the lands in Hacienda Luisita in 5 years and said that he simply brought into play CARPer. Also, Noynoy Aquino’s cousing Fernando Cojuangco belied his promise and said that their clan has no plans of giving up the hacienda.
In addition, there is an increasing trend of landgrabbing, dislocation of farmers and land-use conversion.
On May 21, a farmers’ outpost guarding against illegal cutting of coconut trees in Hacienda Yulo, Bgy. Canlubang, Calamba City, Laguna was attempted to be demolished by elements of the provincial police and regional mobile group. The 500-hectare coconut plantation is being targeted by the Yulo’s to be converted into high-end eco-tourism establishments though farmers were already cultivating the lands for near 100 years.
Almost week after, May 27, a farmers’ community in Bgy. Tebag West, Sta. Barbara town in Pangasinan was attempted to be demolished by provincial and municipal police. The lands are being claimed by Humberto Solis though farmers were beneficiaries of Marcos’ PD 27 and cultivated the lands for 30 years.
In Malaybalay, Bukidnon, the administration of the Central Mindanao University (CMU) threatened to displace farmers if they do not accept the increased land rent. In Bgy. Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan, farmers are being harassed by the military as their farmlands totalling about 200 hectares are covered by the planned MRT 7 inter-modal station project. There are also reports in Nueva Ecija of imminent dislocation of farmers.
“At present, Aquino is just relying on CARPer on land reform agenda. We believe that CARPer is worse than its predecessor CARP and would definitely cause massive agrarian dispute,” said Ramos.
The group also said that CARPer has strengthened landlord rights and of farmers. Under the new law, the tenant is required to have an attestation from the landlord that he or she is indeed a tenant. A provision which is obviously impossible to be complied by the tenant as the landlord intends to displace him or her from the lands.
“This will lead into intensified peasant struggle as what farmworkers have done in Negros, CARAGA region, Eastern Visayas, Southern Mindanao region and other parts in the country where farmers’ groups have directly cultivated abandoned lands and set-up tent communities, set up outpost to guard their crops, coordinated the campaign against underpricing and other unfair trade practices by monopoly traders and more,” Ramos said.
“Thus, we call the attention of Noynoy Aquino to take land reform issue seriously and not a source of problem as you said on your platform. When more and more farmers are being displaced from the farms their ancestors have cultivated for decades, it is just natural for them to fight back and defend their rights. The futility of the law to serve their interest pushes them further to grasp other forms of struggle higher than the legal democratic movement such as ours,” Ramos called.
REFERENCE: Roy Morilla
Public Information Officer