The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today urged presidential aspirant Grace Poe to rethink her support and instead investigate the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 project which the peasant group said would “displace farmers from the more than 300 hectares of disputed agrarian reform lands” in Barangay Tungkong Mangga, City of San Jose Del Monte, province of Bulacan.

 

The KMP issued the statement after Poe, when asked on the issue of the worsening traffic situation in last night’s presidential debate, cited the MRT-7 as one of the solutions.

 

Yung ating MRT 7 na nag-break ground na, dapat yung kanilang proposed na delivery ng 2018, tutukan para yung mga kababayan natin mula Trinoma hanggang San Jose del Monte, Bulacan ay makabyahe,” Poe said.

 

Cojuangco’s San Miguel Corp. is the proponent of the $1.54 billion (P71-billion) MRT-7 is a 14-station, 23-kilometer train system that will connect Quezon City to Bulacan province. At the same time, the MRT-7’s 14 station and inter-modal depot will be built on more than 300 hectares of contested farmlands allegedly being grabbed by Roxas’ relatives, the Araneta Properties.

 

According to KMP, “the MRT-7 is the most expensive Public Private Partnership (PPP) project approved by Aquino.”

 

“Instead of endorsing the Noynoy-Danding and Mar-Greggy MRT-7 project, we urge Poe to rethink her position and instead investigate Aquino’s most expensive and midnight PPP deal with his uncle,” says KMP chair Rafael Mariano.

 

The KMP noted that “aside from the unsettled issue of common station between SM North and Trinoma, there is still an unresolved agrarian dispute at the other end of the MRT-7 railway system, at the proposed Araneta station in Barangay Tungkong Mangga in San Jose Del Monte.”

 

“The MRT-7’s intermodal depot along with its commercial and residential will be constructed over 300 hectares of contested agrarian reform lands,” Mariano said adding, “more than 1,000 peasant families in Barangay Tungkong Mangga would be affected by the project.”

 

Mariano said “the MRT-7project is mainly designed for profit and not as a transport system for the masses. Once again, the Filipino people will be the ones to shoulder the payment for the foreign loans to be used for the construction of the MRT-7 while the profit will go to Cojuangco.”

 

“Likewise, it is totally questionable for the government to insist in building the train depot and its commercial and residential components over agrarian reform lands, to the productive agricultural areas of Tungkong Mangga,” Mariano said noting that the lands were covered by the sham and now defunct comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP) of the government.

 

“Only big businesses and big landlords like Cojuangco and Araneta would benefit from the MRT-7,” he said.

 

The KMP said the affected lands are planted with rice and vegetable produce that farmers consume and sell to nearby public markets in Quezon and Caloocan cities and in nearby towns of Bulacan.

 

Farmers vowed to assert their right to the lands and expose the MRT-7 project. #