Kadamay: Failure of land reform, behind squatting problem

URBAN poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) said that the failure of the government to implement a genuine agrarian reform is the main driver of urban migration aggravating urban poverty and squatting problem in the Philippines.

Such failure has led to more populated cities and tighter employment competition for more than 30 million urban poor, according to the group.

According to data used by the United Nations, from 2005 to 2015, the estimated average growth of capital cities in the Philippines or urban agglomerations is 28%. By 2030, the urban population is estimated to reach 85 million or approximately 70% of the total population.

Urban poor members of Kadamay joined hundreds of peasants as they march to Mendiola to call on the Aquino administration to junk the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with reforms (CARPEr), an Akbayan-sponsored land reform program of the Aquino administration, and to call for a real answer to end the squatting problem in the country.

“The past and present administrations have failed in years in ensuring the crucial task of distributing lands to millions of landless rural poor, and acting on the issue of rampant land-grabbing by big landlords,” said Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national secretary-general.

“The government’s existing land reform program has never answered the lack of land to till in the countryside, driving millions of peasants towards cities and urban center in search for alternative livelihood source, and reliable jobs, according to the leader.

“Until now, 60% of all agricultural lands or almost 9 million hectares are privately owned by just 13% of landlords in the Philippines. More than 20% of agricultural lands or 3 million hectares are owned by just 9,500 individuals,” Arelllano cited to show the gravity of the problem.

CARPer is nothing but an instrument of landlords to legalize land grabbing and land use conversion, as well as to justify the brutal displacement of farmers. It has been a milking cow of the big landlords and its sponsors in the congress, according to Kadamay.

Unless the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), a bill sponsored by Anakpawis Partylist in the Congress is passed to replace CARPEr, there will be no end to the land monopoly and feudalism in the countryside, the group said.

“It will be hard for the Aquino administration to contain the agrarian revolution that is facilitated by communist rebels in the countryside,” Arellano said.

“And so is the brewing battle between the urban poor settlers and the authorities who attempted to evict them from their communities,” she added.

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