Day of the Landless asserts genuine agrarian reform program under Marcos Jr. – updates from the peasant movement of the Philippines

In the observance of this year’s Global Day of the Landless (DOTL2023), farmers troop to the Department of Agrarian Reform Central Office in Quezon City to pursue and make serious follow-up on the agency’s promised recommended actions on voluminous land cases pending at the department.

In October last year, farmers from various landholdings across the country held a dialogue with DAR Usec. for Legal Affairs Napoleon Galit and DAR Usec. for Field Operations Kazel Celeste. Now, six months after, the farmers are seeking an explanation from DAR officials especially agrarian reform secretary Conrad Estrella III.

“Eight months into his administration, we have yet to hear from President Bongbong Marcos Jr on farmers’ demand for a new and genuine agrarian reform program to replace CARP, the issuance of an Executive Order (EO) against the conversion of agricultural lands devoted to or suitable for the production of staple food crops, and the resolution of long-standing agrarian disputes,” according to KMP leader Danilo Ramos.

In particular, the farmers are seeking an update from DAR on the following and many more:

Farmers from MAKISAMA-Tinang in Tarlac will follow up on Sec. Estrella’s promise to install them within 45 days.

Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan farmers’ demand for DAR to review all land cases in the so-called Araneta lands of presidential brother-in-law Greggy Araneta in which several landholdings were never developed decades after DAR issued a conversion order in 1992.

KASAMA-Lupang Ramos from Cavite are appealing DAR’s denial of their petition for inclusion for CARP coverage of a 372-hectare landholding collectively tilled by farmers for their food consumptiom.

Potential farmer-beneficiaries from Angandanan, Isabela are seeking DAR’s urgent intervention on the harassment against them by security guards and landgrabbers as they assert non-payment of land rent on a landholding already issued with a Notice of Coverage from DAR.

“Ilan lang ito sa napakaraming mga kaso sa lupa na matagal nang iniharap ng mga magsasaka sa DAR at hindi pa rin nareresolba hanggang sa ngayon. Napansin namin na halos ang inaatupag na lang ng DAR ay ang SPLIT project o Support to Parcelization of Land for Individual Titling na pinondohan ng World Bank,” Ramos asserted.

Ramos added: “The prevailing hunger and poverty of Filipino peasants and sectors in agriculture are among the direct result of centuries-old landlessness. Vast hectares of land planted with staples, grains, and food crops, as well as indigenous lands, and public lands, were land grabbed and converted into non-agricultural uses. Nasa 2023 na tayo pero mayroon pa ring mga hacienda at milyun-milyong magsasaka ang nakatali sa kahirapan dahil sa kawalan ng tunay na reporma sa lupa.”

KMP said farmers and peasants must settle for nothing less than genuine land reform and rural development to uplift their economic status and transform local agriculture into one that caters to the needs and interests of the Filipino people.

Ang mga magsasakang naggigiit ng mga karapatan sa lupa ay nahaharap sa mga pag-atake mula sa mga lokal na landgrabber, malalaking korporasyon, at maging sa gobyerno. Malaganap ang pag-abuso sa karapatang tao ng mga magsasaka at at iba pang anyo ng brutalidad laban sa mga lumilikha ng pagkain ng bansa.

The theme of this year’s Day of the Landless is Rural peoples unite for food, land, and climate justice! Build our future without hunger, dispossession, and destruction!

“Landlessness pushes rural peoples, who already comprise almost 80% of the world’s poor, into greater destitution. Over 800 million people worldwide suffer from hunger amid corporate control of our lands, seas, food, and agriculture. The key into transforming agriculture and food systems is a strong people’s movement that will assert to end corporate monopoly over agricultural lands, waters, and other natural resources.” #

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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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