DESPITE NO-ELECTION SCENARIO
Rural groups urged Satur, Maza to run for Senate in 2010
Despite of the much-talked about no-election scenario, five of the biggest rural-based groups in the country— the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the agricultural workers group Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) ,the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and the Amihan national federation of peasant women on Sunday urged Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela party list Rep. Liza Maza to run for senator in the 2010 elections.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said although during public launching of the coalition group Makabayan last month were it announced Ocampo and Maza as two of the probable senatorial candidates of the new-Left led political alliance, the two militant lawmakers have yet to issue formal statements certifying their intention to run for Senate seats next year.
“The rural people are urging Reps. Ocampo and Maza to lead the senatorial ticket of Makabayan in the 2010 elections. The grassroots demand for politics of change and good governance will be carried effectively in the Senate with patriotic people like Ocampo and Maza elected as senators to pursue our collective interest as farmers, fisherfolk and rural people in aid of legislation,” said Hicap.
“The track records of Ocampo and Maza in serving the people in and out of the House of Representatives are politically exemplary. The two militant lawmakers are veterans of the parliament of the streets and they are our people’s servants in the House of Representatives championing the rights and welfare of marginalized people over the last 8 years in Congress,” the Pamalakaya leader added.
Hicap noted that aside from Ocampo and Maza, who are third termers as party list representatives, Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano and Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño are also being eyed to run for senate in 2010 under the Makabayan coalition and they will support the two other militant lawmakers in case they join the senatorial race in 2010.
“Definitely we will go all-out campaigning for Ocampo and Maza in the 2010 senatorial elections in case they decide to pursue a seat in the Senate. There’s widespread clamor among our leaders and members across the country for them to run for senator and win seats for the cause of our people for genuine land reform, patriotic government and good governance,” Hicap said.
In the event Reps. Ocampo and Maza officially decide to run for Senate in 2010, Pamalakaya said its 43 provincial chapters across the country will be part of the national machinery to campaign for Ocampo, Maza and other candidates of Makabayan coalition party.
KMP vice chairperson and Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo said her group’s has 55 provincial chapters and 17 sub-regional chapters nationwide together with Amihan peasant women federation and UMA has 20 provincial chapters each will actively campaign for Ocampo, Maza and other senatorial candidates of the coalition.
According to Lacandazo, once elected as senators, Reps. Ocampo and Maza are expected to bring the fight for the enactment of the senate version of House Bill No. 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) which they co-authored with the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran in the House of Representatives, along with Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela party list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan.
“As advocates of genuine land reform, we are 100 percent sure Reps. Ocampo and Maza will carry the farmers desire for social justice and agrarian justice by pursuing the senate version of HB No. 3059 or GARB and other pro-people legislative agenda,” said Lacandazo added.
Meanwhile, Lacandazo, one of the organizers of the 54-day Rural Camp Out for Genuine Land Reform and Against Chacha challenged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Senate and the House of Representatives to certify HB 3059 or GARB as an urgent bill if the administration is really sincere in implementing a thoroughgoing land reform in the country.
Declaring the 20-year old CARP as dead, KMP, Pamalakaya and Kasama-TK together with peasant groups from BTL (Buffalo-Tamarraw-Limus) in Bukidnon province cremated CARP to signify that the present land reform program is dead and the country needs a new legislated agrarian reform program through GARB.
While the first committee hearing of GARB is set on May 20, it is about time for the Philippine Congress to give full consideration on the proposed law without the resurrection of a dead law. There is no more room for debate if CARP is extended or not, instead the government should pass a new land reform law which is genuine and pro-farmer and GARB is providing every assurance that is indeed an agrarian reform that arises from the legitimate demands of the landless peasants all over the country,” Kasama-TK said. #