Farmers set nationwide actions to demand genuine land reform, end to peasant killings

Farmers will mount a nationally-coordinated action on June 8 with two major demands — genuine land reform with free land distribution as a major component and a stop to the rising peasant killings happening nationwide. “Our demands are just. We will rally farmers for these calls that are equivalent to land and life,” says Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.

A multisectoral mobilization at Mendiola as well as other actions in major cities and urban centers are set on June 8.

Two years into his administration, Duterte have not made significant reforms that are beneficial for the majority of the population — farmers. Worse, farmers and peasant leaders who assert their right to the land are being killed deliberately by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its paramilitaries. Almost 130 farmers were killed under Duterte’s watch. We cannot just keep on counting our dead. The brutal killings sanctioned by Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan must stop now,” Ramos said.

“A new and genuine land reform is long-overdue. The failed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) did not address the widespread problem of landlessness and rural poverty. It only safeguarded the interests and properties of landlords. Likewise, all bogus land reform programs implemented by the government are always accompanied with brute force and repression that led to more human rights violations against farmers.”

Ramos added that on their own, organized farmers are working for the realization of genuine agrarian form through collective farming and bungkalan activities. Time and again, farmers have reiterated this just call but instead of heeding the demand, the Duterte government is poised to allow unbridled foreign ownership of land through Charter change. “We can never allow that. The land belongs to the country and Filipinos,” the KMP leader said.

High time to resume peace talks

Ramos said actions of farmers nationwide will take place at a period when both the Duterte government and the National Democratic Front are contemplating on resuming the peace talks to discuss provisions of the Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and the National Indusrtrialization and Economic Development (NIED) and start discussions on other relevant sections of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms. “An agreement on these two key sections is important as it lays down the most basic framework of policy-making and governance to get the economy on the right track of genuine and pro-people development.”

“Forging a CASER is important especially as Filipinos are reeling from the economic damages and impacts of TRAIN, weekly oil price hikes, and worsening hunger and poverty and other woes,” Ramos said.

Danilo Ramos