Tag Archives: CARP

NPC’s ganging up of Chiz shows Danding Mafia rule— Militants

By Chocolate Moose Fernandez and Lollipop de los Reyes

Manila, Philippines-Leftwing militants belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday said the ganging up of erstwhile Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) presidential candidate Sen. Francis Escudero by his party mates led by Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco and son Rep. Mark Cojuangco was lucid testimony that Danding and sons operate the political party like a Mafia.

“The NPC is being run by the Danding Cojuangco mafia, and those who will oppose the sinister agenda and cruel intentions of the ruling syndicate shall be expelled from the party. The case of Senator Francis Escudero is highly evident here. After bolting out from the Cojuangco party, the senator is now being persecuted by the rabid lapdogs of the NPC,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Yesterday, Danding’s son Rep. Mark Cojuangco admitted that radical positions taken up by Sen. Escudero on several issues that support the call of Filipino workers for P 125 across the board wage increase and the immediate scrapping of billions of debts incurred by farmers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) caused the split between the senator and the NPC founded by Danding in 1992 as his vehicle when the chair of San Miguel Corporation ran as President.

The young Cojuangco said the position of Escudero in favor of legislated wage increase might cause the collapse of the business ,while the proposal to condone billions of pesos in debt incurred by farmer beneficiaries under CARP should have wait for the inventory of the debts before the NPC takes an official stand.

“What is wrong in calling for the legislative approval of P 125 across the board daily wage hike for Filipino workers? What is wrong with the proposal to condone debts incurred by farmers under the bogus CARP? There’s nothing wrong about these advocacies,” added Hicap.

On the other hand, Pamalakaya said what was immoral and patently despicable was the annoucement of Liberal Party presidential standard bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino on national TV that he was seeking a dialogue and reconciliation with Danding, while on the other hand remains elusive and non-committal to demands of Hacienda Luisita agricultural and farm workers for the free distribution of land, which he asserted, was acquired by the Cojuangcos through unjust, immoral, coercive and unlawful means.

Pamalakaya asserted that it is public knowledge that Danding wants a considerable portion of Hacienda Luisita for the expansion of San Miguel Corporation, and a Noynoy presidency will make the Pacman’s dream to come true.

On December 18, 2008, the Hacienda Luisita Management signed by Hernan M. Gregorio, Jr. — assistant Estate Manager of HLI imposed a deadline to farm workers that they only have up to October 30, 2009 to harvest and finish all land cultivation activities inside the hacienda.

In response to the Oct. 30 deadline, some 50 supporters of Hacienda Luisita farm workers staged a mass demonstration outside the Cojuangco business building in Makati City this morning, and issued their own cease and desist order against the Luisita management.

In their two-page cease and desist order, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) declared the Hacienda Luisita Oct.30 deadline null and void, immoral, unlawful and fatally flawed.

Hacienda Luisita has been under stock distribution scheme since the implementation of CARP in 1991 during the Aquino administration, which the groups said superficially, classified the farmer-beneficiaries as “stock-holders. KMP and UMA said the SDO commenced with the massive land use conversion (LUCs) that left only about 3,200 hectares of agricultural lands from the original 7,500 hectares in 1958.#

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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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Hacienda Luisita workers asked SC to lift TRO

Hacienda Luisita workers asked SC to lift TRO

Groups identified with Hacienda Luisita farmworkers on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) it issued on June 14, 2006 preventing the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) from distributing the 6,453 hectares of sugar lands own by the family of former President Corazon Aquino to farmworkers.

In a press statement, the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers represented by the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Luisita (Ambala) and their supporters belonging to Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) and Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said the TRO is prolonging the agony of agrarian reform beneficiaries inside Hacienda Luisita.

“The Supreme Court is legally, morally and politically mandated to carry out the cause for agrarian justice and social emancipation. However, the TRO it issued last June 14, 2006 counters this mandate at the expense of landless farmworkers,” the groups said in their joint statement.

The high court issued a TRO instructing PARC and Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman to refrain from distributing Hacienda Luisita lands to farmworker beneficiaries. The SC Third Division also ordered the Hacienda Luisita Incorporated to post a cash bond of P 5 million for the TRO.

The TRO came from the petition filed by HLI questioning PARC resolution No.2005-32-10 dated Dec.22, 2005 upholding the decision of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to revoke the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) plan of the Hacienda Luisita management.

The PARC also ruled to place the entire Hacienda Luisita estate under compulsory acquisition, earmarking some P 15-billion for the acquisition of the sugar estate own by the family for ex-President Aquino.

“In the name of truth and social justice, we demand the Supreme Court to immediately lift the TRO and instruct PARC and DAR to effectively carry out the free distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to farmworkers,” AMGL chairperson Joseph Canlas said.

Canlas and 33 other sugar workers led a silent protest outside the gate of the Supreme Court in Padre Faura, in Manila to call for the immediate lifting of the TRO.

“It’s about time the SC makes a giant kill on the agrarian reform dispute in Hacienda Luisita and uphold interest of the landless tillers and exploited farmworkers,” the AMGL leader said.

For their part, ULWU President Rene Galang and Ambala chairperson Lito Bais warned the high tribunal on the current maneuver being undertaken by HLI to prevent the farmworkers from pursuing their land rights. According to Galang and Bais, the Cojuangco family had issued a memorandum last December 18, 2008 ordering all farmworkers who occupied about 2,000 hectares of the 6,453 hectares of Hacienda Luisita to destroy their crops and vacate the lands on or before October 2009.

The leaders of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers said the memorandum was issued a day after the Senate and the House of Representatives approved Joint Resolution No.1 extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) minus the provision on compulsory acquisition.

“First the Cojuangcos used the bankrupt CARP and its provision on stock distribution option to evade land distribution, now they used the Joint Resolution to effectively deny the rights of the farmworkers to land they have been tilling for nearly a century,” Galang and Bais stressed.

ULWU and Ambala said the 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita was exempted from distribution under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Instead, the sprawling sugar estate was placed under the Stock Distribution Option (SDO), a non-land transfer scheme, which converted sugar workers into stock holders and daily workers receiving P 9.50 per day without any share in the gross sales.

Jay Calaguing, UMA information officer said Hacienda Luisita farmworkers continue to cultivate more 2,000 hectares of the hotly disputed sugar estate outside the framework of the 20-year old CARP, which he said was bogus, bankrupt, pro-landlord and anti-farmer.

Calaguing added that despite the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court refraining the Presidential Agrarian Reform Committee (PARC) from covering and distributing the Cojuangco sugar lands to sugar workers, the farmworkers managed to assert their land rights and pursue the “bungkalan” campaign.

UMA said the current “bungkalan” campaign has already benefited 838 families or roughly 1,676 individuals spread in the barangays of Malapacsiao (244.5 hectares), Asturias (209.93 hectares), Bantog (258 hectares), Cut-Cut (275.9 hectares), Balite (153.4 hectares), Mutrico (248 hectares), Pando (163 hectares), Texas (140 hectares), Pasajes (60 hectares) and Parang (51.5 hectares).

On the other hand, UMA is also supporting the passage of Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill 3059 authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by his successor Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna party list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño and Gabriela Party list Reps. Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

Under GARB, Hacienda Luisita will be distributed for free to farmworkers and poor farmers and with guaranteed security of tenure and strong support mechanisms to make the 6,453 sugar estate productive and responsive to the need of farmworkers, poor farmers and the Filipino public in general. #

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DAR paid ad on CARP meant for fund generation campaign

DAR paid ad on CARP meant for fund generation campaign

Groups opposed to the extension of the 20-year old Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) on Monday said the full-page advertisement which appeared in major broadsheets this week were paid for by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to convince foreign donors agencies to continue funding the agrarian reform program of the government.

“To make it simple and understandable, DAR merely wants funding agencies abroad to invest more billions of pesos for CARP implementation and support services in the tradition of the
P 76.2 billion foreign donors had shelled over the last 20 years. In other words, it is just another money making scheme,” anti-CARP groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Amihan peasant federation said in a joint press statement.

“Whether agrarian reform secretary Nasser Pangandaman admits it or not, the paid advertisements which ran in millions of pesos of taxpayers money were part of the sinister scheme to acquire more funds and more loans abroad for the current corrupt regime of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” the groups said.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos noticed that in the paid advertisement, DAR put more emphasis on the need of CARP to sustain funding for support services, adding that the DAR, in a way admitted that it would no longer give premium to land distribution and would focus more on foreign funded and assisted projects ranging from support infrastructures and maintenance of so-called agrarian reform communities for fund drive abroad.

“This is a money making racket sanctioned by the bureaucracies in and out of Malacañang and in and out of DAR. This is money making at its best,” said Ramos.

The KMP leader also questioned the claim of DAR that it was able to distribute 7.2 million hectares of land to 4.5 million farmers over the last 20 years under CARP, while the truth is more than half of the 7 million hectares target for land distribution were already reverted back to the former landlords or transferred to new private owners in the form of cancellation of land titles, land use conversions and other forms of land grabbing and agrarian reform reversals.

“In fact vast tracts of land remained in the hands of few landed monopolies both local and foreign. DAR spin doctors are trying to make a glossy picture out of the sorry state of land reform in the country,” added Ramos.

For his part, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap challenged DAR secretary Pangandaman to identify the beneficiaries and the exact locations of the beneficiaries where the so-called physical land transfer or land distribution.

The Pamalakaya leader said an audit performance is highly necessary to prove if there is really truth to the claim of DAR that it was able to distribute 7.2 million hectares of land to 4.5 million farmer beneficiaries.

“DAR has this two-decade long record of doctoring the agrarian reform statistics to show to the people of the country and the international community that agrarian reform really existed in the country over the last 20 years,” Hicap added.

According to accomplishment report of DAR, the government under CARP was able to provide tools for productivity to 5,961 farmers organizations and cooperatives and benefited 709,219 members. It also said 2,595 organizations availed of the P 4.736 billion credit support provided by the agrarian reform department.

The DAR report also cited other accomplishment reports such as the construction of 6,577 farm-to-market roads, 976 irrigation systems, 428 units of post-harvest facilities, 194 multi-purpose buildings, 6 flood control projects and 174 bridges.

KMP, Pamalakaya and other staunch allies are calling for the junking of CARP, and have rejected moves to extend the 20-year old agrarian reform program, including the scrapping of Joint Resolution No.1 that extended CARP for another six months without compulsory acquisition.

Instead the groups are calling for the passage of Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill 3059 authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela partly list lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

The meat of GARB is the free distribution of lands to landless, land-lacking and willing to till farmers with enough guaranteed security of tenure protection, production subsidies and support services. #

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Bishops told: CARP extension a wrong Gospel for social justice

Bishops told: CARP extension a wrong Gospel for social justice

The fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday warned Roman Catholic bishops that their support to the extension of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) could be a wrong Gospel for social justice that they would soon regret as church leaders.

“For 20 years CARP was at the epicenter of the government’s land reform program, which resulted to widespread denial of peasant land rights and across-the-country agrarian reform reversals. Extending this bogus, anti-farmer and pro-landlord land reform escapade is like prolonging the agony of millions of landless peasants,” the group said in a press statement.

Pamalakaya issued the statement a day after the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines announced that it would have a dialogue with the senators on March 16 to work out for the passage of CARP extension with reforms.

“Twenty years of fake land reform program is enough. The Catholic bishops should have learned their lessons well about the inutility and bankruptcy of CARP. For two decades, this land reform program peppered with loopholes and fatal flaws further entrenched landlord power and landlordism in the countryside, and any move to extend and breed the same kind of banana is nothing but a defeatist move and extreme retrogression,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said his group and staunch allies Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the agricultural labor group Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the peasant women federation Amihan are not supporting the proposed CARP extension with reform bills currently filed in the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate.

Instead the fisherfolk group and its allies are throwing their support to the controversial House Bill 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna party list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela party list lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap asserted that GARB is the real social justice piece of legislation compared to the bankrupt CARP extension with reform bills pending in both houses of Congress.

Hicap said the meat of GARB is free land distribution, unlike in CARP extension with reform bills, the farmers will still be subjected to payment of monthly amortization, that in case they failed to pay their outstanding debts or obligations to the government, the awarded lands will be reverted back to the government, or to landlord or to any private entities interested in acquiring the land.

“In CARP extension with reforms, farmers will still be subjected to rigorous payment of lands awarded to them and would continue essaying their feudal roles as CARP beneficiary paying clients of the present landlord which is the government,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Pamalakaya said an example would be the 153-hectare Hacienda Bacan in Negros Occidental currently owned by the Arroyos. Under the CARP extension with reform (CARPer), if even the lands are awarded to farmers, the beneficiaries will continue to pay monthly amortization, and in case they failed their obligations, the lands would be reverted back to the state, which has the right to sell the lands back to the Arroyos or to any private interest.

“Is that land reform? No it is not. That is real estate business,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said under GARB or House Bill 3059, the 153-hectares of the Arroyos will be classified as sullied lands, meaning lands acquired through dubious, corrupt and forcible means, and therefore would be subjected to outright coverage, compulsory acquisition without compensation to the Arroyos and free distribution to landless farmers of Hacienda Bacan.

The militant group also said the one-year indefeasibility period in CARPer was a either a misnomer or an intentional provision to allow big landlords to maneuver. Under CARPer, the titles of lands awarded to the farmer beneficiaries could no longer be questioned once the landlords in dispute failed to challenge the acquirement of lands by the farmers.

“Landlords as proven by history always question the farmers’ insistence of their land rights twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and 360 days a year. This indefeasibility provision of CARPer is meant to allow landlords to stop any kind of land acquisition and distribution,” said Pamalakaya.

But under GARB, the farmers become the rightful person to till, explore and benefit from the land in the name of free land distribution and social justice, and any dispute or question about the land will be the official business of the state and the landlord as parties, totally liberating the farmers from any kind of hassle or problems. #

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Farmers commemorate 22nd year of Mendiola Massacre with burning of 1,500 photos of Arroyo

Farmers commemorate 22nd year of Mendiola Massacre with burning of 1,500 photos of Arroyo

Around 1,500 leftwing farmers identified with Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Alyansa ng Mga Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) commemorate the 22nd year anniversary of Mendiola Massacre by burning 1,500 pictures of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The farmers marched from the national office of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Quezon City before going to Mendiola before proceeding to Mendiola.

“This is a political statement in honor of the 13 martyrs of Mendiola and millions of Filipino farmers who are victims of state repression and who are still struggling for land and justice. We want President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to perish in the fires of hell,” said KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella.

Marbella, together with other leaders of the fisherfolk group Pamalakaya, Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Amihan women peasant federation, Anakpawis party list, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and other militant organizations under the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan led protesters in burning 1,500 photos of the President, whom they described as the no.1 class enemy of Filipino farmers.

Marbella said aside from genuine land reform program and justice to all victims of Mendiola Massacre and political repression, the farmers are also calling for the immediate passage of Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill 3059.

The KMP leader asserted that GARB so far is the only progressive proposed piece of agrarian reform bill in the entire history of Congress. He said the heart and soul of GARB is free land distribution to all landless, land-lacking and willing-to-till farmers all over the country, which is not present in any previous agrarian reform laws and programs in the Philippines including CARP.

Marbella said just compensation will be given to landowners, except those involving sullied landholdings, or land holdings acquired to fraud, deception, intimidation, or the use of force or violence, and landholdings whose landowners employ oppressive and exploitative practices on their tenants, agricultural workers or other farmers tilling the land.

He added that enlightened landlords will be allowed to maintain five hectares under GARB provided that they will till the land and will not employ and exploit landless farmers or agricultural workers. “The implementation of genuine land reform and the passage of GARB as a social justice legislative agenda were envisioned by the farmers who joined the march to Mendiola 22 years ago. Please allow us to set the record straight that the farmers, including the victims of Mendiola Massacre did not demand for the bogus, anti-farmer and pro-landlord CARP,” the KMP stressed.

After their 7-day camped out at the Ministry of Agrarian Reform (now Department of Agrarian Reform or DAR), from January 15-21, 1987 on January 22, leaders and members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), numbering about 15,000 decided to march from the agrarian reform office to Liwasang Bonifacio and then to Mendiola.

In Mendiola, military and police elements open fired and peppered the farmers and their sympathizers with bullets. Thirteen marchers, mostly farmers from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions were killed and identified as Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul.

Aside from the 13 farmers who were killed by state security forces, reports also said 39 marchers sustained gunshot wounds and 32 sustained minor injuries. #

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