Farmers vow to heighten struggle for land

MILITANT farmers will intensify their struggle for agrarian reform in the coming months starting October.

This was announced over the weekend by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) as farmers press for the distribution of agricultural lands that are being converted by real estate developers and foreign investors.

The peasant group said about 15 of their regional chapters from all over the country are consolidating for protest actions.

“We launched the peasant camp-out since June 30 to challenge president Benigno Aquino III to effect change in our country, but all he has done were anti-people and anti-peasant policies,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP secretary general.

Ramos said farmers will launch protest actions on the 100th day of the Aquino administration and on the 38th anniversary on October 21 of Presidential Decree 27 of the land reform program of former president Ferdinand Marcos.

Members of the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan, meanwhile, continue their “camp out” in front of the agrarian reform department office in Quezon City.

“Southern Tagalog farmers have been calling against the landgrabbing of their 500-hectare coconut lands in Sitio Buntog, in Barangay Canlubang in Calamba, Laguna.

Farmers from Nasugbu, Batangas, are also protesting the alleged harassment by the Philippine Air Force.

KMP also supports the struggle of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers against the Stock Distribution Option offered by the management of the landholding.

Ramos said they will also highlight the case of farmers from Negros. He said KMP members in Negros are “under assault” by big landlords. Landless farmers in the province have been cultivating about 3,000 hectares of agricultural lands.

KMP is also set to lead a campaign against displacement, landgrabbing and land use conversion.

Ramos said displacements and demolition of farmers’ houses have been on an increasing trend during the first year implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ or CARPer.

“There is overwhelming circumstances that oppression and exploitation on peasants continue and the sheer proclamation of Aquino as president did not effect any change,” Ramos said.

“Filipino peasants across the country have no option but to struggle and to intensify our call for genuine land reform,” he added. D’jay Lazaro

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