Militant farmers today trooped to Mendiola Bridge to witness the inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte and to press their most significant demands to the new presidency that include land distribution, free irrigation services and the return of the coco levy fund.
Farmers from Cagayan Valley, Bicol region, Southern Luzon, Northern Luzon and Mindanao provinces joined the multisectoral rally near Malacanang, to challenge Duterte to take concrete steps to realize his platform of ‘change’. The KMP contingent will carry a big banner with Tunay na Reporma sa Lupa, Ipatupad! (Genuine land reform now!).
“A new and genuine program on land reform is long overdue. The now defunct Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) is imprinted with the landlord legacy of the Cojuangco-Aquinos. CARP and its extension CARPER, were implemented to favor big landlords and exempt vast tract of lands from actual and distribution,” says KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores.
“To give social justice to farmers whom for many decades, were deprived of their right to land, a genuine land reform program with the component of free land distribution is just and necessary,” Flores said.
“The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), now under the helm of former KMP chairperson Rafael Mariano, should start concrete steps for the dismantling of the following haciendas and their subsequent distribution to farmers: Hacienda Luisita (Tarlac); Hacienda Dolores (Pampanga); 10,038 hectares (has.) Clark Green City (Pampanga); 3,100 has. in Fort Magsaysay (Pampanga); 7,100 has. Hacienda Yulo (Laguna); 8,650 has. Hacienda Looc (Batangas); 10,000 has. Hacienda Reyes (Quezon); 8,813 has. Hacienda Roxas (Batangas); 1,003 has. Hacienda Patugo (Batangas); 12,000 has. Hacienda Zobel (Batangas); Lot 23 Mascap, Rodriguez (Rizal); 3,100 has. Araneta Estate (Bulacan); 40,000 has. Yulo King Ranch (Coron); and Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangcos vast haciendas and land estates in Negros Island Region and Isabela.”
Flores further noted that there are ongoing strong peasant campaigns for land distribution in the aforementioned haciendas and land holdings.
The KMP leader said “attempts to revive CARP should also be junked.”
“Efforts to press for the continuation and extension of CARP and its adjunct programs will only benefit landowners who have evaded actual land distribution and those who have maneuvered to re-concentrate the lands supposedly distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries,” Flores said. ###