Southern Tagalog farmers play “golf” and deliver “above par” protest to call for DAR chief resignation

Southern Tagalog farmers play “golf” and deliver “above par” protest to call for DAR chief resignation

Around 80 farmers belonging to the militant peasant group Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) held a golf session this morning in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Elliptical Road in Quezon City to call for urgent resignation of agrarian reform secretary Nasser Pangandaman.

“Mr. Pangandaman is like the 20-year old Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program or CARP. He is bogus, pro-landlord and anti-farmer. Since CARP is dead and he has no business in staying inside DAR, we suggest him to immediately leave his office and go on a permanent vacation,” Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo said in a press statement.

Lacandazo, also vice-chairperson of the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said “the golf inspired above par performance” of the Southern Tagalog farmers is meant to denounce the various golf projects undertaken by the unholy alliance of Malacañang, the DAR and the Ayala group of companies, which is the owner and private developer of almost all golf projects in the region.

Kasama-TK and KMP said DAR allowed the Ayala group to deny peasant land rights to land, landgrab farms and convert these agricultural lands into golf courses for big business groups and their investor-clients. They said tens of thousands of farmers in these golf course areas will be evicted to pave way for Ayala golf courses.

According to both groups, the Ayala real estate group is planning to construct three major golf courses in the province of Rizal, Laguna and Batangas, particularly in Macabud, Rizal where a 36-hole golf course will be constructed inside the 2,800 hectare farmland, also inside the 7,100 hectare Hacienda Yulo in Canlubang, Laguna and inside the 8,650-hectare Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas.

“These are big ticket items for the golfing republic of the corrupt, pro-landlord and anti-peasant regime of President Arroyo. This time it is our turn to stage this symbolic protest action against any kind of land use conversion and landgrabbing spree in the region,” Lacandazo said ,as she led her peasant colleagues in hitting the “golf balls” bearing the names of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Pangandaman and their incorrigible golfing partners,” they added.

After the “golf session” the farmers proceeded to and staged a day long protest at the House of Representatives in Batasan Complex to challenge House Speaker Prospero Nograles and the House leadership to immediately tackle the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill 3059, which they said was intentionally sidelined by the House Committee on Agriculture for nearly 14 months.

GARB, which is backed by KMP, Kasama-TK and staunch allies like Pamalakaya fishers group, the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Amihan peasant federation was authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran, and co-authored by Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna party list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela party list lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

The bill if enacted will facilitate the coverage of all agricultural lands and have these lands distributed for free to landless, land lacking and willing-to-till peasants across-the-country. #

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