Tag Archives: Lakbayan ng Anakpawis para Sa Lupa at Katarungan

Satur, Maza to lead farmers’ March in Mendiola

By Bombshell Moran

Manila, Philippines- Eight militant party list lawmakers will lead the 7,000 strong farmers’ march to Don Chino Roces Bridge on the occasion of the 23rd year anniversary of Mendiola Massacre.

In a press conference this morning, Makabayan senatorial candidates Rep. Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna) and Rep. Liza Maza (Gabriela) and Anakpawis party list lawmakers Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod said four of their colleagues—Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares, Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casino, Gabriela Women’s Party list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan and Kabataan Party list Rep. Raymond Palatino will also join the 10-kilometer march from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Quezon City to Mendiola Bridge in Manila on Friday.

“According to data provided by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) majority of private agricultural lands are still in the hands of big landlords. Around 7 million hectares of prime agricultural lands remained untouched and undistributed, and based from that projection, agrarian injustice still reign all over the country,” Maza said.

Anakpawis’ Mariano said around 500 farmers representing peasant groups in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Benguet, Cagayan, Isabela, Tarlac, Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora are now marching from Malolos City to Meycauyan City. The Northern and Central Luzon contingent is being led by the Alyansang Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon and the Hacienda Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU).

“The Northern and Central Luzon leg of Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan encountered minor hassles compared to the South leg which is marred by frequent military and police checkpoints since day one of the 10-day caravan which started in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City where marchers and their vehicles were subjected to rigorous check and inspection,” Rep. Mariano said.

Maglunsod said the Southern leg of the Lakbayan composed of Mindanao island, Panay and Negros islands, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas, Bicol and Southern Tagalog had hurdled series of checkpoints and stoppages in Davao City, Butuan City, Cagayan de Oro, Liloan and Tacloban City in Leyte, Catbalogan, Calbayog and Catarman in Samar, Sorsogon City in Sorsogon, Daraga and Legaspi City in Albay.

Last Sunday, Maglunsod recalled that in Gumaca, Quezon province, the caravan was stopped five times and derailed the arrival of farmers in Lucena City in Quezon. “The AFP and the PNP are exploiting the Comelec gun ban to harass the marchers and derail their caravan to Manila. I was in Bicol during the caravan’s leg in the region, and we have to negotiate from time to time to military and police authorities just to be allowed to pass from one town to the next town. This is ridiculous, “the Anakpawis solon said.

The militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno and staunch ally Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) said they will mobilize at least 2,000 of their members in support of the farmers’ march to Mendiola, while Anakpawis, Bayan Muna and Gabriela chapters all over the National Capital Region will also join what they called the historic march and caravan for land and justice.

Meanwhile, critics of the Arroyo government on Tuesday ate apples and oranges at the gate of the Department of Agriculture in Quezon City, while their colleagues who marched from Mindanao and Visayas islands, Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions morphed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo into a monster backhoe in Calamba City in Laguna to mark the 8th day of the Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan.

Some 80 fisherfolk and farmer activists belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis party list once blocked the gates of agriculture department with 5 huge ice blocs and put 50 pieces of oranges and 50 pieces of apples on top of these ice blocs for cooling.

Later they ate the apples and oranges in a symbolic protest against the P 455-million ice making machine scam involving agriculture secretary Arthur Yap and 13 other government and private officials, who syndicated the bidding and procurement of 98 ice-making machines, which the groups said was overpriced by P 2.3 million per unit or P 225 million.

Officials of DA and the spokespersons of the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) said Pamalakaya and Anakpawis were wrong in comparing the 98 units brought by the winning bidder to the ice-making machines offered by other bidders, saying the groups who filed the plunder case against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Sec. Yap were comparing apples and oranges, asserting that the machines were double in price because these were state of the art technologies.

“See? Fisherfolk don’t compare oranges and apples. They eat them. However, it would be a chance of lifetime for our small fishers to have oranges and apples in their dining tables,” says Pamalakaya vice chair Salvador France and Anakpawis party list secretary general Cherry Clemente in a joint statement.

Last January 6, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis leaders led by Rep. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod filed the plunder and other criminal and administrative charges against President Arroyo, Sec. Yap and 13 other public and private officials

In Calamba City, the 1,500 marchers from Mindanao island, Panay Island, Negros Island, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions paraded an effigy known as “Gloriang Backhoe” where President Arroyo was morphed into a giant monster like backhoe depicting her administration as a regime massacring livelihood and human rights of the people all over the archipelago.

The 7 feet tall and 5 feet wide Backhoe effigy made of wood and other scrap materials was crafted by the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and its cultural arm—the Southern Tagalog Cultural Network showing Arroyo’s face as the backhoe machine being operated by Uncle Sam symbolizing the US control over her administration.

Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo said the effigy will be paraded as the 1,500 strong marchers from Mindanao, Panay and Negros islands, Central and Eastern Visayas, Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions march from Calamba City to San Pedro in Laguna today.

“This effigy symbolizes the crimes of President Arroyo to the people. It represents the criminal activities of this government including landlessness, human rights violations, all forms of fraud and corruption and puppetry,” she said. With reports from Bb. Joyce Cabral and Chocolate Moose Fernandez

Backhoe Gloria symbolizes the crimes of the Arroyo regime

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Lakbayan marchers hurdle PNP checkpoints

By Roy Morilla in Sorsogon City
and Trinity Biglang Awa in Manila

Organizers of the 10-day Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para Sa Lupa at Katarungan on Saturday said the 170 marching farmers from Mindanao, Panay and Negros islands, Eastern Visayas and Central Visayas have been subjected to series of police checkpoints just to pass towns and municipalities on their way to the National Capital Region.


In text messages sent to Manila, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary general Danilo Ramos said since day one of the Lakbayan, which officially kicked off in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City, the peasant caravan and march frequently encountered checkpoints, and their vehicles were searched and checked by firearms carrying policemen and government troops as if the farmers are carrying high power rifles and explosives with them.

“The checkpoints are practically everywhere, as if this government is gearing for another all-out war and not for the May 2010 elections,” the KMP leader added. According to Ramos, the Lakbayan caravan and march hurdled checkpoints from Davao City to Butuan City and Surigao City, and from Surigao City to Liloan and Tacloban City in Leyte, and in Calbayog, Catbalogan and Catarman in Samar island before they reached the port in Allen, Northern Samar.

Last night, the PNP Sorsogon stopped the caravan from reaching the city. A negotiation was held between the police authorities and leaders of Lakbayan headed by Anakpawis party list Rep. Joel Maglunsod. After 20 minutes of negotiation, the Lakbayan was finally allowed to proceed in Sorsogon City past 8:00 last night.

This morning, the Lakbayan was stopped by policemen manning the PNP checkpoint in Castilla, Sorsogon, but through the intercession of Rep. Maglunsod and the insistence of caravan and march organizers, the marching peasants were allowed to proceed to Daraga and Legaspi City. The incident happened between 9:00 am and 10:00 am.

However, in Barangay Bascaran, Daraga, Albay, 11 caravan vehicles were stopped by military and police checkpoint. As of press time, negotiations are ongoing between the police officials and Lakbayan organizers.

Anakpawis Rep. Maglunsod said the 10-day Lakbayan was announced a week ahead of the schedule and the police and the military were all informed about the legal and legitimate activity of the farmers. “This long running nightmare of checkpoints, harassment and not so intelligence gathering adventures of the PNP and the AFP have been the usual staples of the Arroyo government to frustrate the people’s assertion of their rights,” the militant lawmaker observed.

Rep. Maglunsod said the organizers are expecting more of the same when they reach Tagkawayan, Quezon by 10:00 am tomorrow.

In a related development, the KMP, the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list said the Comelec decision exempting Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) from gun and perform checkpoint functions is extremely dangerous.

“The Comelec decision exempting CAFGUs from the total gun ban is a major political, legal and moral blunder. The poll body merely puts a legal blanket to the killing spree and human rights violation activities of these paramilitary units, which they perform in accordance with the cruel intention and sinister agenda of the sitting presidency in Malacanang, the pro-Arroyo military clique and their warlord allies,” the groups said in their statement.

They said the Comelec should disband these paramilitary groups due to their long-running violations of human rights at any given period. “The best way to address the issue is to call for the immediate and unconditional disbandment of CAFGUs, period, period, period,” the groups said.

“Please allow us to reiterate the record straight–57 people were massacred by CAFGU forces in Maguindanao last year. Is that a joke or a remote incident to Comelec? Where is their sense of human rights, justice and political sensibility?” Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente added.

Comelec commissioner Lucenito Tagle yesterday said the CAAs are allowed to carry firearms because they are considered units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which are exempted from the nationwide gun ban imposed by the poll body during election period.

Organizers of Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan said aside from land and justice and concrete issues and struggles on agrarian reform, the grueling 10-day long caravan and long march from different parts of Mindanao, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Panay, Negros, Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, Ilocos, Cordillera and Cagayan Valley regions to the National Capital Region will also call for the dismantling of CAFGU units across the country.

Under Comelec resolution 8742 made effective last January 11, amending Resolution 8714, the CAFGU was exempted from gun ban along with members of the Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Optical Media Board, the treasurers and deputy treasurers and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury.

Prior to Comelec promulgation of Resolution 8714, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao opposed the disarming of CAAs because these paramilitary groups are tapped by fishing companies to secure their venture in the South. For his part, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of Western Command said as far as the military is concerned, the CAFGUs are part of the military organization and not all CAFGUs are utilized by private companies operating in far flung areas.

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Manila bound marching farmers slam poll body’s ok for CAFGU to carry arms in May 2010 elections

By Roy Morilla, Lakbayan pointperson in Mindanao
and Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times

Davao City, Philippines-Organizers of the 10-day Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan on Wednesday assailed the decision of the Commission on Election (Comelec) exempting the Civilian Active Auxiliaries (CAA) from the total gun ban.

In a joint press statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list said the Comelec decision is extremely dangerous, politically incorrect and fatally flawed, asserting that these CAAs formerly known as Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) are commissioned as private armies and armed goons by warlord politicians all over the country.

“The Comelec decision exempting CAFGUs from the total gun ban is a major political, legal and moral blunder. The poll body merely puts a legal blanket to the killing spree and human rights violation activities of these paramilitary units, which they perform in accordance with the cruel intention and sinister agenda of the sitting presidency in Malacanang, the pro-Arroyo military clique and their warlord allies,” the groups said in their statement.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said the correct treatment of Comelec in dealing with CAFGUs is to officially disband these paramilitary groups due to their long-running violations of human rights at any given period. “The best way to address the issue is to call for the immediate and unconditional disbandment of CAFGUs, period, period, period,” the KMP official said.

For her part, Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said the tragic lessons drawn from the Nov.23 Maguindanao massacre last year should have compelled poll officials to direct the AFP to permanently dismantle all existing CAFGUs and quit from hiring fresh recruits to avoid if not minimize election related violence.

“Please allow us to reiterate the record straight–57 people were massacred by special CAA forces in Maguindanao last year. Is that a joke or a remote incident to Comelec? Where is their sense of human rights, justice and political sensibility?” Clemente added.

Comelec commissioner Lucenito Tagle yesterday said the CAAs are allowed to carry firearms because they are considered units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which are exempted from the nationwide gun ban imposed by the poll body during election period.
Organizers of Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan said aside from land and justice and concrete issues and struggles on agrarian reform, the grueling 10-day long caravan and long march from different parts of Mindanao, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Panay, Negros, Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, Ilocos, Cordillera and Cagayan Valley regions to the National Capital Region will also call for the dismantling of CAFGU units across the country.

Under Comelec resolution 8742 made effective last January 11, amending Resolution 8714, the CAFGU was exempted from gun ban along with members of the Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Optical Media Board, the treasurers and deputy treasurers and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury.

Prior to Comelec promulgation of Resolution 8714, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao opposed the disarming of CAAs because these paramilitary groups are tapped by fishing companies to secure their venture in the South. For his part, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of Western Command said as far as the military is concerned, the CAFGUs are part of the military organization and not all CAFGUs are utilized by private companies operating in far flung areas.

As of press time, organizers said 50 peasant and fisherfolk activists belonging to KMP, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list from Mindanao island will embark on their way to Liloan, Leyte, while the Visayan leg of the 10-day Lakbayan composed of 100 farmers and fishermen will start in Cebu before the caravan and march proceed to Calbayog City in Samar island.

From Samar, the joint contingent will proceed to Bicol on their way to Southern Tagalog and National Capital Region. The marchers are expected to cross Muntinlupa City on Jan.20 and will stage another long march on Jan.22 to Don Chino Roces in Manila on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of Mendiola massacre.

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ST activists all set for nationwide Lakbayan

Contributed by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chapter in Southern Tagalog

Calamba City, Laguna- Militant groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Southern Tagalog (BAYAN-ST) and Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) are all-hands preparing to conduct the nationwide protest march called “Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis para sa Lupa at Katarungan”.

The Lakbayan kicked-off today in Davao City and is expected to merge with the Southern Tagalog marchers on January 17 in Lucena City. The 10-day epic protest will culminate in January 22 in time with the 23rd commemorating year of the Mendiola Massacre and calling for the long-deprived justice of the farmer victims.

In 1987, farmer protesters were brutally murdered by Malacañang security at Mendiola bridge while decrying the rampant landlessness during Corazon Aquino’s regime. According to Imelda Lacandazo KASAMA-TK Spokesperson, 23 years later, farmers continue to experience these kinds of state atrocities.

“The basic problem of farmers on agrarian reform is still neglected by the government with as low as 19 to 21 percent being left from their produce because of high land rent. Under the Arroyo dictatorship, land-grabbing has even been legitimized with the enactment of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Bill with Extension and Reforms,” Lacandazo stressed.

Southern Tagalog marchers, considered as “Lakbayan veterans” greet the Arroyo government with a bash of strong protests early this new year. At least 1,500 delegates from Southern Tagalog will march the streets to reach the National Capital Region, enduring the heat of the sun, drench of the rain or even overcome blockades by police and military forces.

Less than a week before the Vizayas and Mindanao marchers will set foot to Southern Tagalog soil, build-up activities are already raring to go. On the list of activities include the filing of Human Rights Violations to the Commission on Human Rights due to the surging number of victims of areas where Civil Military Operations and Urban Militarization projects are posed.

“All sectors of Southern Tagalog are united with the peasants’ struggle as Arroyo’s grand plans such as the CALABARZON project and the R1 Coastal Road extension has not only tormented the farmers but also fisher folk, workers and urban poor communities,” Christine Macabetcha BAYAN-ST Deputy Secretary General said.

The R1 Coastal Road extension in Cavite is estimated to displace at least 100,000 families of the province depriving the residents from their homes and source of livelihood. Local protest centers and camp-outs will also be set-up in at least 10 key areas in the provinces of Southern Tagalog which will include a protest camp to be situated in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform on January 18.

“This regime shall expect more intensified protest until the end of its term and will serve as a warning and prelude to the people’s anger because of the upcoming dirty elections,” Macabetcha ended

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