Comelec withdrawal forms prove deception of People’s Initiative, farmers to join broad rally on Feb. 25 – updates from the peasant movement of the Philippines

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today said the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) release of withdrawal forms to take back signatures for the People’s Initiative (PI) wholly proves the deception and malicious intent of the PI spearheaded by the dubious group PIRMA.

KMP also scoffed at the group People’s Initiative for Reform, Modernization and Action or PIRMA for swindling people into signing the PI forms. “PIRMA cannot represent the will of the majority. It should stop hoodwinking the people and stop its signature drive altogether.” PIRMA’s Noel Onate admitted in a Senate hearing that his group met with House Speaker Martin Romualdez Jr and other legislators to discuss the PI efforts.

“We encourage those who affixed their names and signatures to the PI forms disguised as forms for availing of ayuda and social services like AICS, TUPAD, and Medical Assistance to withdraw their signatures. Even before this move of the Comelec, the citizen-led Bawi Pirma efforts are gaining ground in communities because many people have become aware of the intent of PI and those behind it,” according to Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.

“Marami talaga ang gustong bawiin ang kanilang pirma dahil: 1) Naloko lang sila. Hindi talaga nila naintindihan ang kanilang pinirmahan at 2) Wala naman silang natanggap na ayuda mula sa mga nangako at kumuha ng kanilang pirma,” Ramos said, adding that the next logical step is to declare as null and voild the gathered signatures submitted to Comelec.

KMP along with farmers, fishers, peasant women, and agricultural workers will join the broad anti-ChaCha rally on February 25 coinciding with the 38th year of the EDSA 1 Power Power Uprising that toppled the corrupt and brutal Marcos Sr dictatorship.

In Metro Manila, groups will hold an anti-Chacha rally at the EDSA Shrine from 4-6 p.m., followed by a mass at 6 p.m. to be officiated by CBCP Pres. Bp. Pablo Virgilio David.

A statement of the No To ChaCha Network declared: “Despite the victory of EDSA in 1986, much more remains to be done. The Marcoses, Dutertes, and other political dynasties remain entrenched in power. An elite few have maintained, if not strengthened, their grip on our economy and political structures. Widespread poverty and injustice remain. Chacha does not address these problems.”

The network, composed of multisectoral groups, said that to defeat Chacha, they will: 1) Conduct public information and education drives at all levels down to the grassroots; 2) Initiate bawi-pirma campaigns in communities; 3) Hold mass actions and other forms of social mobilization; and 4) File properly timed legal actions. ###  

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Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) was founded at a time of great political upheaval and broad mass movement against the tyranny and abuses of the Marcos dictatorship. Hundreds of peasant leaders and land reform advocates from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao gathered during the historic founding of KMP on July 24, 1985. After thirty five years, KMP remains as the largest national democratic mass organization of peasants in the Philippines.

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