Monthly Archives: May 2009

Nationwide rallies set against extension of CARP

DAY OF OUTRAGE AGAINST CARPer lies and deceptions
Nationwide rallies set against extension of CARP

Farmer groups in 57 provinces and 15 sub-regional formations all over the country this week will stage a nationally coordinated protest against the looming passage of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with reforms (CARPer) according to the activist peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said on June 4, regional and provincial chapters of Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Amihan national federation of peasant women will join his group in an across-the-nation mass action against what they called “A National Day of Outrage Against CARPer Lies and Deceptions”

“On June 4, the landlord dominated Congress in conspiracy with pseudo farmer groups and apologists of the bogus of CARPer will be condemned to the highest level by tens of thousands rural people whose interest were betrayed and sacrificed for the nth rime around by the extension of the fake, anti-farmer and pro-landlord land reform program,” the KMP leader said.

Ramos said anti-CARPer protest actions will be participated by farmers from Bataan, Zambales, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Aurora and Pangasinan in Central Luzon, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, all in Ilocos provinces, Abra and Benguet in Cordillera, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon in Southern Tagalog, Camarines Sur, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate in Bicol Region.

The KMP leader said anti-CARPer protests will also be held in Davao City, Digos City in Davao del Sur, General Santos City and Sarangani, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Butuan City, Cagayan de Oro City, Tacloban City in Leyte, Bacolod City in Negros Oriental, Dumaguete City in Negros Occidental, Iloilo City in Iloilo, Kalibo City in Aklan, Cebu City, Tagbilaran City in Bohol to cite a few.

In Manila, Ramos said some 2,000 farmers and fisherfolk from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon provinces will arrive on June 3 and will hold a vigil at the gates of the House of Representatives. The following day, the protesters will hold a peasant caravan against CARPer and for the passage of House Bill 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) from Batasan to the Department of Agrarian of Reform in Quezon City.

From DAR, the farmers will march to Mendiola where they will burn 1,500 copies of CARPer to symbolize their outrage against the passage of the law what will extend CARP to another five years.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said even if Congress retains the compulsory acquisition and the land acquisition and distribution provision under CARPer, the extended land reform program will remain nothing but toothless tiger, totally empty and extremely ridiculous.

“The proponents of CARPer are hiding big, big secrets to the farmers who are made to believe that the extension of the 21-year old bogus land reform program will result to compulsory acquisition and land acquisition and distribution of some 1.2 million hectares of agricultural lands to farmer beneficiaries,” he said.

Perfecting amendments

One of the perfecting amendments proposed under CARPer is the phasing of land acquisition and distribution, which requires the government to cover 50 hectares and above without prejudice to the coverage of lands below 50 hectares, after an accomplishment report of 90 percent per province.

“While it sounds good at face value, it is meaningless in substance. Why? Because it would be hard to do so since majority of lands of up to 50 hectares and above are locked in various disputes in many regular courts across-the-country, including quasi judicial courts like DARAB (DAR adjudicatory board). The DAR is a willing hostage to these agrarian disputes and it will not act on cases where there are legal problems. So the so-called LAD and compulsory acquisition are nothing but useless entities under CARPer,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Another perfecting amendment to CARPer, which KMP and Pamalakaya described as extremely anti-farmer is the leaseback arrangement scheme wherein lands already awarded to land reform beneficiaries could be re-acquired by the former landowners and corporations through leaseback agreements.

“The purpose of this amendment is to provide venue for landlords and corporations to re-acquire and regain control of lands. The CARPer is allowing big landlords to retake and landgrab lands through the dubious leaseback arrangements,” Hicap stressed.

For her part, Kasama-TK (Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan) spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo said another perfecting amendment to CARPer which will be sneaked is the institutionalization of commercial farm plantations will which further empower landlords and agro-corporations to refuse coverage of their lands by declaring them farm plantations for commercial and export activities.

Lacandazo said the provision in CARPer which allows the compensation to landowners and increasing the down payment from the present 25% to 30% to 50 percent revealed the real intent of CARPer which is to retain is “milking cow” orientation of landlords and other landed estate entities across the country.

“CARPer is nothing but a real estate transaction between the state and the landlords. This is one of the insertions and cruel intentions of this bogus land reform bill that seeks to prolong the life of this comatose land reform program,” she said.

According to Pamalakaya, the CARPer perfecting amendment declaring farmers as habitual squatters and making them criminally liable will be exploited and abused by landlords and big agro corporations to deny peasant land rights and evict them from farm lands.

Afraid of GARB?

The KMP, Pamalakaya and other pro-GARB groups challenged the peasant groups identified with the CARPer bloc to withdraw their support to the extension bill and instead shift their agrarian reform advocacy to the controversial bill authored by the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela Women’s Party list Reps. Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

“Are they afraid of the GARB? There’s nothing wrong about HB 3059. GARB cannot go wrong because it real agenda is to achieve social justice for the farmers across the country,” they said.

Kasama-TK said the issues raised and ranged against the Beltran bill like constitutionality, just compensation, due process etc. etc were clearly addressed by the authors and resource persons during the hearing.

“If Chairman Rep. Elias Bulut (Apayao) and members of the House committee on agrarian reform are not afraid, they should prove it by preparing and signing a committee report and bring it to the plenary for a major political debate and showdown,” the group added.

KMP, Pamalakaya and Kasama-TK recalled that in 1993, Sentra, a non-government organization together with other farmer groups conducted a preliminary assessment of CARP from 1988 to 1993, and one of the striking results of program was revealed— a total of 10,958 certificate of land transfers (CLTs), 9,133 EPs and 2,303 CLOAs were cancelled by DAR covering 32, 041 hectares of prime agricultural lands affecting over 22,000 CARP beneficiaries.

“In fact, CARP led to stories of land reform reversals from 1993 up to present with the thousands of cases of land titles having been cancelled or rebuked by DAR to pave way for across-the-country land use conversions that went on full speed ahead in the 90s,”the groups said.

KMP and Pamalakaya cited the case of farmers in Southern Tagalog which said that from 1994 up to 2007, about 1,302,375 hectares of prime agricultural lands have been placed by DAR under conversion and such terrible act led to the massive land reform reversals with the cancellation of land titles all over the region.

During the same period, they said around 173,000 hectares of prime agricultural lands in the region have been already converted for commercial purposes; leaving tens of thousands of supposed to be CARP beneficiaries landless.

“This is the kind of sham land reform which CARP had offered and would still offer to poor farmers and rural people all over the country if Congress passes this shotgun, double bladed piece of legislation”, the groups added. #

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Farmers, fishers oppose 18th floor condominium project in Hacienda Looc

Farmers, fishers oppose 18th floor condominium project in Hacienda Looc

Farmers and fisherfolk groups in the sprawling 8,650 hectare Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas vowed to oppose the construction of an 18th floor first class condominium in Barangay Papaya.

The Samahan ng Mga Magbubukid ng Batangas (Sambat) and the Haligi ng Batangueñong Anakdagat (Habagat), affiliates of the activist peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the ambitious project is being undertaken by the Manila Southcoast Development Corporation (MSDC), a subsidiary of SM Property Holdings owned by mall magnate Henry Sy.

According to Guillermo Bautista, chair of Sambat, aside from the 18th floor condominium project due to be finished or on before 2012, Sy is also planning to establish eco-tourism projects along foreshore land areas of Hacienda Looc, including another international mall similar or even bigger than the SM Mall of Asia in the former Pasay reclamation area.

Bautista said Sy plans to sell each unit in the 18th floor condominium for P 3.5 million, P 7 million and P 10 million.

Bautista blamed the fatally flawed and loop holes ridden Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) behind the land grabbing sprees of SM and other real estate developer groups in Hacienda Looc.

“The 8,650 hectare Hacienda Looc was previously declared as CARP lands and therefore subject of land distribution to farmer beneficiaries and in fact, DAR distributed Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) to 1,393 farmer beneficiaries,” he said.

“But the national government overturned the decision and let the effective sale of Hacienda Looc to MSDC for 215 million in 1994 and this led to land reform reversal affecting over one thousand farmer beneficiaries and 10,000 rural populace some 15 years ago,” the Sambat leader added.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap also blamed CARP for the agrarian dispute in Hacienda Looc with the national government’s sell-out of Carpable lands to Sy. He said as of now over 20,000 farmers and fisherfolk and their families are affected by the land market transaction initiated by the government courtesy of the 21-year old CARP.

“As of now, fisherfolk are being banned to fish 5 kilometers away from the shore land as if Hacienda Looc and its coastal waters are declared the Henry Sy republic. Something must be done to stop this injustice made in the name of Palace clients and political supporters in the persona of Mr. Sy and company,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said the corporate takeover of Hacienda Looc by SM will immediately affect the livelihood of 1,500 farmers and fisherfolk. Hicap said the security guards detailed by MSDC are preventing small fisherfolk to get near the 5-kilometer fish ban from the shoreline and in case they get near, the guards will fire shots or harass them for crossing in the private property of SM.

“The bogus CARP, the government’s uncontrollable greed for fat commission and SM’s real estate and mall expansionism escapade are behind this current predicament and sufferings of farmers and fisherfolk,” he said.

Meanwhile, KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos aired his support to the a house resolution filed by Bayan Muna party list Rep. Teodoro Casiño urging the House Committee on Agrarian Reform to investigate how Sy and MSDC managed to wrest control of the 8,650 hectare of prime agricultural lands from farmers who have been tilling the area for generations.

On May 27, Casiño filed House Resolution directing the House Committee on Agrarian Reform to investigate the failure of CARP in the case of Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas, with the end in view of protecting the farmer-beneficiaries and other residents whose rights are continuously violated by the MSDC owned by Henry Sy.

“We want a full-blown investigation on one of the biggest land reform reversals and land reform landgrabbing in recent history of agrarian reform in the country. The lawmakers should cross party lines and should come to their senses,” said Ramos. #

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Detention of 7 NCR activists shows kind of President VP Noli would be, says Pamalakaya

Detention of 7 NCR activists shows kind of President VP Noli would be, says Pamalakaya

The dispersal of 60 urban poor protesters and arrest and detention of seven activists who held a demonstration and interrupted a visit by Vice-President Noli de Castro regarding a railroad project in Muntinlupa showed what kind of presidency the country will have if de Castro is elected as president in 2010 elections.

“This is very, very alarming. VP de Castro, who is being groomed by the administration to replace the current detestable occupant in Malacañang— President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is showing his true colors as Mrs. Arroyo’s male political version,” said Fernando Hicap, chair of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in a press statement.

“VP de Castro, the standard bearer of Lakas-Kampi merger party, which is the reincarnation of Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) is showing to the Filipino electorate what kind of a President he would be—anti-poor and anti-people,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

“We have the Lakas-Kampi merger as KBL and de Castro as new Ferdinand Marcos of the 21st century in the offing. The question where Lakas-Kampi and VP de Castro will lead us to in 2010 is very, very predictable,” added Hicap.

The Muntinlupa police have been holding since Thursday night 7 activists identified with the NCR chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Anakpawis party list and Anakbayan. They were arrested for conducting a protest rally against VP de Castro.

Senior Police Officer 1 Rodel Torres said charges of illegal assembly and alarm and scandal were to be filed yesterday against Iggy Rodriguez, Andrew Zarate, Gibe Santos, Ricky and Mark Rebosto, Aldrin Silanga, and Lucrecio Baril at the Muntinlupa City Prosecutor’s Office.

VP De Castro was a guest Thursday afternoon at the turnover ceremony of the Northrail and Southrail Linkage Project of the Philippine National Railways in Sucat when protesters suddenly appeared and chanted their grievances, said PO1 Oliver Mejia of the Southern Police District.

Roy Velez, chairman of militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan-NCR), said the detained activists belong to urban poor groups in Muntinlupa City and they were protesting the demolition of homes along the railroad tracks in Muntinlupa since March.

Around 60 protesters staged a rally near the PNR event to air their sentiments on the lack of relocation sites for the displaced urban poor. The protesters were violently dispersed by police after De Castro left the event, Velez said.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya urged anti-electoral fraud groups to watch closely the conduct of next year’s national elections, adding that the announcement of interior and local government secretary Ronaldo Puno of Lakas-Kampi merger party’s clean sweep of the 2010 national elections is a sneak preview of what the Macapagal-Arroyo administration will do next year.

Puno said he was confident that Lakas-Kampi merger party will dominate the elections in 2010 and the party is going to win the electoral contest and lead the country in the next decade.

“An electoral sweep for Lakas-Kampi is only possible if the Arroyo administration engages into another massive crime or election cheating next in 2010 which is the tall of order for the day for the ruling political party come election time,” the group said. #

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Militants declare US defense chief persona-non-grata

UNDESIRABLE ALIEN
Militants declare US defense chief persona-non-grata

Leftwing activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday declared visiting US Defense Secretary Robert Gates a persona non-grata.

“He is not welcome here. As far as the Filipino people are concerned US Defense Secretary Gates is an undesirable alien and militarist high level personnel of Washington to wants to spread the Gospel of unjust war and destruction in the country,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

According to Hicap, Gates is a certified war monger and an addict of US war on aggression. He said prior to his appointment as Washington’s new defense chief, Gates served for 22 years in the Central Intelligence Agency of US and was the director of US Central Intelligence under former US President George W. Bush.

“Gates credentials as an obsessed political military animal on US war of aggression made him US President Barrack Obama’s first choice for the position and his visit to the Philippines is meant for further US military intervention and war of aggression across-the-archipelago,” Pamalakaya’s Hicap added.

According to Malacañang, Gates will be in the Philippines for a two-day visit starting tomorrow to further strengthen military and security cooperation between the Philippines and the US government.

This is the first visit of a top Washington official to the country under the administration of US President Barrack Obama. Palace officials say Gates will meet on Monday President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Arroyo and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro to discuss key regional security developments and bilateral defense cooperation between the two countries.

“Gates will deliver Obama’s marching order to the puppet president that includes the lifetime effectivity of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the counter-insurgency program to eliminate groups highly critical of Washington’s economic, political and military interests in the Philippines,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

“Definitely, Gates will open the gates of hell for the rapid forward deployment of US troops in the country in the name of Washington’s war on terror campaign that will justify American troops’ involvement in Oplan Bantay Laya campaign being waged by the military against armed and unarmed political groups highly critical of the Obama’s cruel intentions and sinister agenda in the Philippines,” Hicap added.

Sources said the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a military treaty signed by the Philippines and the US in 1999, is likely to figure in the discussions between the US defense chief and Philippine officials.

Last month, the case against US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith previously convicted by a lower court of raping a Filipino woman was dismissed by the Court of Appeals, which has led to renewed calls for the abrogation or review of VFA, citing lopsided terms in the agreement.

But officials of the Arroyo government asserted that the VFA continues to be beneficial to both countries, stressing that US and Philippine military cooperation has led to the capture and death of key leaders of the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group, a terrorist organization that has links with Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and is responsible for terror attacks across the country.

The US is the Philippines only mutual defense treaty partner and is the largest source of foreign military financing. US Foreign Military Financing to the Philippines, which contributes to the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization efforts, is the 12th largest in the world. Of all the countries in East Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines also receives benefits the most from the US government’s International Military and Education Training program. #

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Carper solons hiding landlord insertions, cruel intentions— KMP

Pro-CARP solons accused of hiding “landlords’ insertions and cruel intentions” on extended land reform bill

Leftwing farmer groups calling for the enactment of the controversial Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill No. 3059 on Sunday accused proponents of CARPer (CARP extension with reforms) bill of hiding the landlords’ “insertions and cruel intentions” incorporated to what pro-GARB groups as perfecting amendments to the extension bill.

“The proponents of CARPer are hiding big, big secrets to the farmers who are made to believe that the extension of the 21-year old bogus land reform program will result land acquisition and distribution of some 1.2 million hectares of agricultural lands to farmer beneficiaries,” the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a joint statement.

“There will be no comprehensive and massive land acquisition and distribution under CARPer. What will be covered will be in accordance with the tokenistic approach of CARP since 1988, nothing more, nothing less,” KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos and Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a joint statement.

One of the perfecting amendments to CARPer is the leaseback arrangement scheme wherein lands already awarded to land reform beneficiaries could be re-acquired by the former landowners and corporations through leaseback agreements. “The purpose of this amendment is to provide venue for landlords and corporations to re-acquire and regain control of lands,” Ramos said.

The KMP leader said another perfecting amendment to CARPer which will defeat land acquisition and distribution is the institutionalization of commercial farm plantations will which further empower landlords and agro-corporations to refuse coverage of their lands by declaring them farm plantations for commercial and export activities.

For his part, Pamalakaya’s Hicap the provision in CARPer which allows the compensation to landowners and increasing the down payment from the present 25% to 30% to 50 percent revealed the real intent of CARPer which is to retain is “milking cow” orientation of landlords and other landed estate entities across the country.

“CARPer is nothing but a real estate transaction between the state and the landlords. This is one of the insertions and cruel intentions of this bogus land reform bill that seeks to prolong the life of this comatose land reform program,” the fisherfolk leader said.

According to Pamalakaya, the CARPer perfecting amendment declaring farmers as habitual squatters and making them criminally liable will be exploited and abused by landlords and big agro corporations to deny peasant land rights and evict them from farm lands.

The KMP, Pamalakaya and other pro-GARB groups challenged the peasant groups identified with the CARPer bloc to withdraw their support to the extension bill and instead shift their agrarian reform advocacy to the controversial bill authored by the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela Women’s Party list Reps. Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

“Are they afraid of the GARB? There’s nothing wrong about HB 3059. GARB cannot go wrong because it real agenda is to achieve social justice for the farmers across the country,” said the Southern Tagalog-based peasant group Kasama-TK.

Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo, one of the resource persons during the House Committee on Agrarian Reform which tackled GARB last week said the issues raised and ranged against the Beltran bill like constitutionality, just compensation, due process etc. etc were clearly addressed by the authors and resource persons during the hearing.

“If Chairman Rep. Elias Bulut (Apayao) and members of the House committee on agrarian reform are not afraid, they should prove it by preparing and signing a committee report and bring it to the plenary for a major political debate and showdown,” added Lacandazo.

KMP, Pamalakaya and Kasama-TK recalled that in 1993, Sentra, a non-government organization together with other farmer groups conducted a preliminary assessment of CARP from 1988 to 1993, and one of the striking results of program was revealed— a total of 10,958 certificate of land transfers (CLTs), 9,133 EPs and 2,303 CLOAs were cancelled by DAR covering 32, 041 hectares of prime agricultural lands affecting over 22,000 CARP beneficiaries.

“In fact, CARP led to stories of land reform reversals from 1993 up to present with the thousands of cases of land titles having been cancelled or rebuked by DAR to pave way for across-the-country land use conversions that went on full speed ahead in the 90s,”the groups said.

KMP and Pamalakaya cited the case of farmers in Southern Tagalog which said that from 1994 up to 2007, about 1,302,375 hectares of prime agricultural lands have been placed by DAR under conversion and such terrible act led to the massive land reform reversals with the cancellation of land titles all over the region.

During the same period, they said around 173,000 hectares of prime agricultural lands in the region have been already converted for commercial purposes; leaving tens of thousands of supposed to be CARP beneficiaries landless.

“This is the kind of sham land reform which CARP had offered and would still offer to poor farmers and rural people all over the country if Congress passes this shotgun, double bladed piece of legislation”, the groups added. #

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House Speaker faces HR raps

Violent dispersal of peasant activists
House speaker faces charges of human rights raps

Manila, Philippines-Anti-CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) groups led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the leftwing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the Southern Tagalog-based Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid ng Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) will file complaints of human rights violations against House Speaker Prospero Nograles and top security officials of the lower chamber in connection with the violent dispersal last Friday.

Aside from Nograles, KMP, Kasama-TK and Pamalakaya will also file violations of human rights before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) against House Secretary General Atty. Marilyn Yap, Sergeant-at-Arms Brig. Gen. Hortacio Lactao, Legislative Security Bureau executive director Isabelito Flores and the police and security guards who took part in the violent dispersal last Friday.

Reports filed by the human rights group Tanggol Magsasaka said at around 2:30 pm members of the demolition team composed of special action force and security guards under the LSB hosed down the activists defending the camp-out and proceeded in ripping down the structure. The dispersal came at the time Anakpawis party list Reps. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod were negotiating with Gen. Lactao.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said the camp-out protest was peaceful and the rural people were exercising their democratic rights, but the House leadership under Speaker Nograles and the office of the House secretary general acted in bad faith.

“We were told to remove the right side of the camp-out to allow the people to see the seal of the House of Representatives. We followed that agreement. It seems the militarist quartet of Nograles, Yap, Lactao and Flores were all determined to remove the camp out and terrorize the peasant activists, that’s why they did not honor the agreement and went on with their extreme project of state brutality and state fascism against the well organized and principled farmers and fisherfolk,” said Ramos.

Pamalakaya vice-chair for Luzon Salvador France said the number of protesting farmers and fisherfolk were 150 mostly women, children and elderly people.

During the dispersal, 9 people were seriously injured and brought to East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City. The injured activists were identified as Antonio Flores, 60, spokesperson of KMP, Marlyn Marbella, staff of KMP, Rommel Forbes, 18, of Nnara-Youth, Oscar Lapida Jr., 47, of Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog, Merly Ortega of Calatagan, Batangas, Jeffrey Duran, 15 of Cavite, Ronnel Arambulo, 27, member of Pamalakaya-Rizal, Biboy Nayve, 16 and Roldan Padit, 21, members of Anakbayan-Cavite.

“The violent dispersal of rural people as authored and orchestrated by Nograles and his company of political charlatans and militarist hooligans certifies that the House of Representatives is not the House of people’s representatives, but House of agents of state terrorism,” France added.

The Pamalakaya leader said they are studying the possibility of bringing the case before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) based in Geneva where the same complaints would be filed against Speaker Nograles and company.

“We will teach the Speaker and his attack dogs lessons of a lifetime,” France said.

For her part, KMP vice chairperson and Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo said the filing of human rights complaints against Nograles and top house security officials will be done on Monday. “We will go the CHR and file this highly explosive charges of human rights violations against Nograles and other stooges of the ruling national security syndicate in Malacañang,” she said.

According to Lacandazo, she received an information that Nograles wants her group, KMP and Pamalakaya demolished by the gates of the House of Representatives, because they are pro-Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), and the House Speaker wants peasant groups who are in favor of CARP extension with reforms (Carper) bill to be in Congress next week, because the House leadership is set to pass the extension bill.

“We were dispersed because we are pro-GARB and anti-Carper. Speaker Nograles wants a red carpet welcome for Carper and he does not want our group to be there because we might spoil his super roadshow project for Carper,” the Kasama-TK spokesperson said.

“Are they afraid of the GARB? There’s nothing wrong about HB 3059. GARB cannot go wrong because its’ real agenda is to achieve social justice for the farmers across the country,” the groups said.

Last Wednesday, the house committee on agrarian reform chair by Rep. Elias Bulut Jr. (Apayao) began its hearing on HB 3059.

KMP’s Lacandazo added: “Let the farmers and the Filipino public decide which between GARB and Carper is genuine, and which between the two bills is bogus, pro-landlord and anti-farmer. Let’s have the debate. If members of this August chamber are afraid of GARB and they prefer Carper, and such could be the reason why they dismantled our camp-out and dispersed us like there would be no tomorrow.” #

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10 injured in House Speaker’s ordered dispersal

(UPDATE2) 10 injured in House Speaker’s ordered dispersal
by Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times and Roy Morilla, contributor

Manila, Philippines- 10 peasant activists were seriously injured, while scores of other militants were harmed during a violent dispersal ordered by House Speaker Prospero Nograles.

In an interview with the Pamalakaya Times, Danilo Ramos, secretary general of the leftist farmer group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) identified the victims as Antonio Flores, spokesperson of KMP, KMP staff Marlyn Marbella, Nnara-Youth activist Rommel Forbes and 6 more activists from Southern Tagalog region including 15-year old Jeffrey Duran of Anakbayan-Cavite, who suffered bone fractures in the lower left leg.

The peasant leader said the demolition of the 40-day old camp-out and the dispersal of activists camping by the gates of Batasan Complex were authored by Speaker Nograles in conspiracy with House secretary general Atty. Marilyn Yap, House sergeant at arms Gen. Hortacio Lactao and Isabelito Flores, executive director of Legislative Security Bureau.

“The act of state terror against farmers holding a peaceful demonstration and legitimate exercise of their constitutionally mandated rights was led by the Speaker of the House. What a shame on Nograles’ part, being a former human rights lawyer during the Marcos dictatorship,” said Ramos.

The KMP secretary general said Nograles and three House officials acted in bad faith, adding that there was an agreement which was not honored by the House leader and security officials regarding the conduct of camp-out.

“The agreement was for us to occupy the left side of the camp-out and self-dismantle the right side of the camp-out. We complied to the agreement. But still they went on with their terrorist escapade against the farmers,” added Ramos.

The KMP, together with the fishers’ alliance Pamalakaya and the Southern Tagalog-based Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid ng Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) will file complaints of human rights violations against Nograles, Lactao, Yap and Flores next week before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday.

For her part, KMP vice chairperson and Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo said the filing of human rights complaints against Nograles and top house security officials will be done on Monday. “We will go the CHR and file this highly explosive charges of human rights violations against Nograles and other stooges of the ruling national security syndicate in Malacañang,” she said.

According to Lacandazo, she received an information that Nograles wants her group, KMP and Pamalakaya demolished by the gates of the House of Representatives, because they are pro-Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), and the House Speaker wants peasant groups who are in favor of CARP extension with reforms (Carper) bill to be in Congress next week, because the House leadership is set to pass the extension bill.

“We were dispersed because we are pro-GARB and anti-Carper. Speaker Nograles wants a red carpet welcome for Carper and he does not want our groups to be there because we might spoil his super roadshow project for Carper,” the Kasama-TK spokesperson said.

After the dispersal, the protesters proceeded to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) where they constructed a temporary camp-out. But organizers said they will try to restore the camp-out at the gates of House of Representatives anytime next week.

After the protesters left Batasan, the House leadership commissioned construction workers to put up railings to prevent future camp out.

In an radio interview, Speaker Nograles said KMP has the right to file human rights charges against him and other top security officials of the House. However, the Davao City lawmaker said Congress has the right to protect the institution, that’s why he ordered the demolition of the tents and the dispersal of camping farmers.

“We are not terrorists nor military mercenaries paid by the government to attack people and communities. We just want genuine land reform,” the KMP said in response to Nograles’ statement.#

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