The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said big protests vs. Martial Law extension will mark tomorrow’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte. “Progressive sectors will expose and oppose Duterte’s militarist rule.”
“Tomorrow’s SONA will be a time of reckoning for the people. We must be united in opposing Martial Law. Duterte’s strongman posturing will bear no good for the country as he is not addressing the most basic social concerns like land reform, employment and enactment of pro-people policies. His SONA tomorrow will turn out just like his promises – all empty talk and with no significant value to the people,” said Antonio Flores, secretary general of KMP.
Before the SONA, farmers will deliver the State of Peasantry Address (SOPA) to deplore the absence of land reform and the continuing injustices and atrocities under Duterte. “No real change happened except for the rising death toll under the current government.” the peasant leader said.
Rural-based organizations KMP, Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Pamalakaya, Amihan and Anakpawis will give their verdict on Duterte’s presidency. Thousands of farmers from Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and Mindanao will gather at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to present the national situation of farmers, agricultural workers, indigenous peoples and rural people.
“The current DAR have distributed 56,000 hectares of land in a year, but much more remain in the control of big landlords. We are taking action to realize our demand for genuine land reform and dismantling of land monopolies and haciendas,” Flores said.
“The multibillion coco levy has not been returned to small coconut farmers and their heirs. There are even maneuvers to privatize and utilize the coco levy fund for other purposes. Irrigation services are free on paper but not on the ground. The peace negotiation is stalled. Our repeated demands have fell on deaf ears.”
The farmers also condemned the extension of Martial Law. “The dictator and bully President Duterte and his military cabal led by war dogs General Lorenzana, Esperon and Ano are misleading the nation by lying about the grave state-sponsored human rights violations in Mindanao. The President’s rubberstamp supermajority bloc in Congress have betrayed the people by unanimously endorsing the extension of Martial Law. They are all accomplices in opening the floodgates for more abuses, death, and prolonged humanitarian crisis in Mindanao, said Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.
Under Duterte’s first year as president, the peasant group have recorded a total of 68 victims of politically-motivated killings, majority of whom are farmers. During 60-day Martial Law, there were 10 victims of extrajudicial killings, 335 victims of illegal arrests and close to half a million or 490,211 victims of internal displacement due to military aerial bombings in Marawi and intense militarization in Mindanao and other provinces. “These figures are enough reasons for the people to go out and protest on Duterte’s second SONA.”
Tomorrow before marching to Commonwealth Avenue, KMP, UMA and other peasant organizations will lead in the burning of Hacienda land titles outside DAR to symbolize the ongoing national campaign to occupy haciendas and big landholdings. ###