Landlessness looms if charter change happens

February 25, 2024


Filipino farmers, indigenous peoples up in arms over planned charter change that can leave them landless (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / Bulatlat)

By JONAS ALPASAN

Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Filipino farmers and indigenous peoples groups were among those who marched in today’s commemoration of the 1986 people power uprising that ousted the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr, father and namesake of the current president.

The commemoration comes in the heels of moves to amend the Philippine Constitution. As it stands, there are two pending house resolutions focused on supposed revisions of economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Read: Why people’s initiative to amend Philippine Constitution reeks of ‘Marcosian tactics’

Read: Chacha to worsen land dispossession and poverty, rights groups say

But Filipino farmers are not convinced, saying that this will only result in “wanton plunder of our remaining land and natural resources.”

“More than the yearly ceremonial commemorations, we strive to continue Edsa’s legacy of defense of democracy and struggle against fascist dictatorship and tyranny. Another Edsa uprising is possible in the future and it would be led by the Filipino masses who are fed up with Marcos Jr’s leadership and this rotten social system,” said Danilo Ramos, chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Indigenous peoples are also affected by charter change

Indigenous peoples group Katribu expressed alarm that the proposed amendments to the constitution that will allow foreign ownership of land will worsen the massive land-grabbing incidents they have been facing.

“The encroachment of foreign interests not only violates land rights but also tramples upon fundamental human rights,” said Beverly Longid, national convenor of Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas.

Longid added that militarization and increased violence will likely be used against indigenous peoples to suppress resistance. “With ChaCha, the plight of Indigenous and Moro peoples will deteriorate, also impacting their access to essential services. ChaCha threatens to perpetuate ethnocide.”

Provide due protection, services to farmers

Instead of opening up the country’s land to foreign ownership, KMP said that the government should provide protection and support to its local agriculture, adding that the decades of liberalization policies did not result in better living conditions for Filipino farmers.

“Foreign investments only mean more profits for foreign businesses and not necessarily economic development for farmers and basic social sectors,” said Ramos.

KMP said that the agricultural sector fell to its smallest share of the economy in history with an average of 1.2 percent from 2017 to 2021. This, they said, is “a far cry from the historical average of 3.8% since the end of World War 2.”

Ramos said, “We must prioritize achieving genuine agrarian reform and the strengthening of our local food production and supporting our farmers, fishers, and local agriculture stakeholders to the fullest.” (DAA) (https://www.bulatlat.org)





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