”We’re your boss, not your tenants,” farmers remind Aquino

SOME 200 farmers under the militant peasant group Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) today held a protest-rally in front of Noynoy Aquino’s residence in Times Street to remind him that the farmers are his boss and not his tenants.

The protest also aims to pressure the President on the P56.5 billion coco levy fund that was transferred to the national government. “That’s our money. We want it back,” says KASAMA-TK spokesperson Orly Marcellana.

The group announced that farmers from vast haciendas and landholdings in the Southern Tagalog region are set to launch a series of protest-actions on the 40th year of the sham PD 27.

Marcellana said, ”the Cojuangco-Aquino family benefited from all the bogus land reform programs in the country, from PD 27 of Marcos in 1972 to Cory Aquino’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform in 1988 until it was extended in 2009.”

”Under PD 27, only rice and corn lands were distributed, automatically exempting Hacienda Luisita. During Cory Aquino’s term, the family used the many loopholes of CARP, like the Stock Distribution Option, to maintain their control of the hacienda. Up to now, Hacienda Luisita remains undistributed, just like other big landholdings in Southern Tagalog,” Marcellana said.

”Despite Aquino’s promise in his inaugural speech that we are his boss, this haciendero president still treats us like his tenants. We still suffer from feudal exploitation. Haciendas remain undistributed. We still do not own the land that we till. And just like any other landlord, he would like to keep it that way,” says Marcellana.

”May kasabihan kaming mga magsasaka na ang batang pinakain ng galing sa nakaw ay lalaki ring magnanakaw”, added Marcellana, saying that Aquino is continuing their families tradition of exploiting farmers and enacting policies like using coco levy fund for the so-called poverty reduction road map that will surely work for their advantage and will legitimize this exploitation.

The farmers plan to hold a camp-out outside Aquino’s residence until PD 27’s anniversary on October 19. They will cap-off their week-long protest with a big rally in Mendiola.

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