Anakpawis joins peasants’ protest march vs. crisis in agriculture, killings

Anakpawis joins peasants’ protest march vs. crisis in agriculture, killings

Manila, Philippines – Thousands of peasants from the regional chapters of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Luzon and affiliated with the Anakpawis Party-list marched from Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City to Mendiola bridge in Manila to protest against various issues hounding the sector, mainly the liberalization of agriculture and continuing killings and attacks against activists.

“It is obvious that Duterte doesn’t give a damn on the plight of Filipino peasants, and they are here to expose him and hold him accountable,” former Anakpawis lawmaker Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said during the protest.

The protest is in marking the 47th anniversary of the Marcos dictatorship land reform program Presidential Decree 27. It is the culmination of the week-long mixed form of protests on various issues such as against Republic Act 11203 Rice Liberalization Law, on depressed farmgate prices of copra and utilization of the coconut levy fund as pressed by farmers from Southern Tagalog who camped outside the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) office, the planned further liberalization of the sugar industry, and continued attacks against peasant activists asserting rights to land and livelihood.

“The government downplays the problems endured by peasants, that until now they have no resolution on the worsening rice crisis brought about by liberalization, worse, plans to carry out similar in the sugar sector,” he said.

These agricultural issues are on top of the fact that Duterte never enacted a new land reform law after the expiration of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in June 2014. Worse, he pushed for the Administrative Order 1 of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR AO1) speeding up the process for land-use conversion, and signed Executive Order 75, that gave government agencies and corporations freedom to evade coverage to the program.

“The very objective conditions of Filipino peasants drive them to assert rights to land, launch ‘bungkalan’ campaigns and protests, but instead of hearing them, Duterte rules with state terrorism and abuses,” he elaborated.

More than 200 peasants fell victims to extra-judicial killings under Duterte’s watch, amid authoritarian measures of martial law in Mindanao, Memorandum Order 32 and Executive 70 counter-insurgency directives.

“These are the very bases that the struggle of Filipino peasants is anti-feudal, anti-fascist and anti-imperialist,” he explained.

He urged the people to support the peasants’ call to repeal the Rice Liberalization Law and justice to victims of Duterte’s rule of state terrorism and crimes against humanity. ###

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