One year of empty promises

“Mayor Rodrigo Duterte could have done more if only he had the political will and sincerity to address the farmers’ long-time clamor for genuine land reform and national industrialization. The state of the nation one year after he was catapulted to power, will speak for his performance,” says Antonio Flores, secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) during the Peoples Summit that assessed the first year of Duterte’s presidency.

“More than a year ago, we have raised to Duterte the Peasant Agenda for genuine land reform, return of the coco levy fund to farmers, free irrigation services, social justice for farmers, repeal of anti-people laws and policies, among others. Based on our assessment, Duterte failed to deliver these demands.”

“Duterte did not show sustained interest in achieving genuine land reform. Even if DAR secretary Rafael Mariano is pursuing genuine land reform and attempting to correct the historical injustices of the pro-landlord Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the absence of a new and genuine agrarian reform program is evident under Duterte who have consistently slammed oligarchs and the haciendero regime of his predecessor Benigno Cojuangco-Aquino. His effort of responding to the demands of MARBAI farmers is well-taken but there is more to be done than just token actions.”

“Duterte has liberally tolerated the militarists in his administration, led by Generals Lorenzana and Ano to sabotage the peace negotiations that delayed the much-needed Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) that aims to address massive poverty, hunger and unemployment in the country. Duterte allowed his economic managers to pursue much-reviled neoliberal policies of previous administrations. Duterte’s talk of foreign independent policy is just that — all talk, no actions. Killings of farmers and peasant leaders persisted. Duterte proved his worth but we are sorry (not sorry) to say that he did make the cut,” Flores said.

“Farmers took into their hands the task of dismantling the monopoly control  of landlords over vast tracts of land. These are carried out through ongoing land occupation and collective cultivation campaigns nationwide in haciendas and land estates,” the peasant leader said.

On June 30, KMP will join Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in a mobilization to mark Duterte’s first year in office. ###