Support peasants’ call for justice and Duterte’s resignation – Anakpawis

Support peasants’ call for justice and Duterte’s resignation – Anakpawis

Manila, Philippines – The Anakpawis Party-list joined thousands of peasants and activists at the protest along Recto Avenue near Mendiola bridge in Manila, to demand genuine agrarian reform, justice and President Rodrigo Duterte’s resignation for his criminal neglect of the majority sector of the country’s population. The protest coincided with the 48th anniversary of the sham land reform program of the Marcos dictatorship, the Presidential Decree 27 and it was dubbed as “National Day of Defiance,” referring to the resistance against the weaponized and militarist lockdown under the guise of response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Duterte regime is a useless regime for the majority of the Filipino population. Under this regime, there is zero agrarian reform program and landless peasants are doomed to remain as landless, and being burdened by detrimental policies, they are thrown into unimaginable poverty, hunger and misery. As admission of its assault against peasants, the regime carries out the crime against humanity of killing peasant activists defending land rights and calling for fundamental reforms,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said in a press statement.

He was referring to that the Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program expired in June 2014, was never replaced by a new law, thus, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has ceased issuing new certificate of land ownership awards (CLOAs) and supposedly legitimate beneficiaries were abandoned. Worse, many cloas, certificate of land transfer (CLTs) and emancipation patents (EPs) are being cancelled with the systematic petitioning of landowners.

“Haciendas remain intact, and it is manifested by the case of Sagay Massacre, where nine farm workers were massacred in October 2018 for cultivating idle lands. Productive agricultural lands are being grabbed by speculators and real estate developers, such as the cases of Lupang Ramos and Kapdula in Cavite, and Hacienda Yulo in Laguna. Even DAR intended to hasted the process of land use conversion when it issued its AO No. 1 last year,” Casilao cited.

He added that DAR is treading on opposite of its mandate with its pending program “Support to Parcelization of Land to Individual Title (SPLIT)” and “megafarms” programs.

“These are non-land transfer programs, but facilitation of financialization of agricultural lands, all in line with the neoliberal policies of the regime. This will lead into worsened displacement of farmers and control over lands are being peddled to big foreign agro-corporations, whose products are for the world market, and not for the country’s demand for food security and self-sufficiency, and even rural development,” he stressed.

He warned that as DAR is diverting from its supposed mandate which is to strengthen land tenure security of landless farmers, it is actually building up bases for its own end.

“If DAR continues to abandon landless farmers in the country, who it is supposed to be serving, it is akin to digging its own grave,” he slammed.

Moreover, the Duterte regime has unquestionably proven its betrayal of the poor peasants of its categorical programs of mass killing, such as the issuance of the Memorandum Order 32, or the de facto order to attack peasant activists in Negros, Samar and Bicol, and the Executive Order 70 or the “whole-of-nation” approach that facilitates red-tagging and harassment against peasant activist organizations pushing for genuine agrarian reform. To date, there are 277 peasant activists and their supporters who fell victims of extra-judicial killings under the regime. They are usually members of the local organizations of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis Party-list.

“Duterte’s marching order to attack the national peasant movement is established by the brutal political assassination of Anakpawis Party-list National Chairperson and KMP Deputy Secretary-General ‘Ka Randy’ Echanis last August. The regime should stop its useless denial of responsibility when the atrocity was carried out under a strict lockdown and the crime scene was just meters away from a police precinct in Quezon City,” Casilao recalled.

He also noted that as sign of the regime’s acceptance that it is broadly begrudged the peasant sector, it is institutionalizing its repression via its enactment of the “terror law” and its recent issuance of its implementing rules and regulation or IRR.

To complete the regime’s holistic assault on poor peasants, its very own Republic Act 11203 Rice Liberalization Law is wreaking havoc on the household incomes of millions of rice farmers in the country.

“The cries of the Filipino poor peasants, which is ‘Land, Justice and Food,’ is moral, and obviously, these are the anti-theses of the Duterte regime’s programs and policies. Thus, to triumph on the former, is to defeat the latter, which is concretized by his very removal from post,” he elucidated.

Anakpawis urged rural-based sectors, which based on government data is more than 57 million to simultaneously demand Duterte’s resignation, as initial measure to holding him seriously for his crimes against humanity and the Filipino people. ###

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