Peasant group sympathizes with hunger strikers

THE peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) expressed sympathy to farmers staging a hunger strike at the Department of Agrarian Reform.

However, the KMP described as utterly ridiculous the call of another peasant group that President Aquino himself take charge of the DAR calling it an opportunity for the Cojuangco-Aquino family to maneuver and evade Hacienda Luisita’s distribution.

“While our sympathy goes to all farmers who struggle for their right to own the lands, we do not approve of calls for President Aquino himself to take over the DAR. It is utterly ridiculous and unacceptable for Aquino himself to steer the wheels of DAR,” says KMP spokesperson Antonio Flores adding: “It will provide the haciendero president the opportunity to personally work for the non-distribution of Hacienda Luisita.”

The KMP issued the statement after the Task Force Mapalad deputy national coordinator Lanie Factor said that the group “wanted Mr. Aquino to take over the reins of the DAR himself.”

“If this is a Christmas wish, it is downright stupid. If it’s a joke, it’s not funny. It appears that the Aquino administration and its special agents are exploiting the poverty and landlessness suffered by farmers to advance the Cojuangco-Aquino family’s ploy to keep Hacienda Luisita,” Flores added.

The KMP insists that “the sham Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is the main culprit for the worsening land problem and landlessness of the peasantry.”

“CARP is mainly designed to strengthen landlord control over the lands. As long as the bogus CARP remains as the program being implement by the DAR secretary, whoever he is, will face the peasantry’s resistance. And, demanding that the haciendero president to take charge of DAR will further worsen the already bankrupt CARP,” the KMP leader said.

“The seemingly endless farmers’ marches, farm strikes and cultivation campaigns, camp-outs and hunger strikes are living testaments that the CARP is nothing but a sham.

The cases of Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Looc in Batangas, Roxas-Araneta lands in Bulacan, and the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone project, among others, are concrete examples where landlords made use of the Carper to evade land distribution,” Flores stressed.

“For more than 24 years of CARP, the Filipino peasantry remains landless and continue to suffer feudal and semi-feudal exploitation at the hands of big landlords,” the KMP leader said calling proposals to once again extend the CARP as total wastage.

The KMP is pushing for the enactment of the House Bill 374 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) seeking the free distribution of lands to landless tillers.

“Only a genuine agrarian reform program that will break the monopoly and control of big landlords over vast tracts of lands and haciendas and its subsequent free distribution to landless tillers will solve the centuries-old landlessness of peasants in the country,” he said.

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