NEWS RELEASE April 9, 2018
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)
Farmers said a possible resumption of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (NDFP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) should not have any preconditions and should respect and all previous agreements especially the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws (CARHRIHL).
The first order of the peace talks should discuss the immediate lifting of Martial Law and halting of military operations that affect farmers and indigenous people in peasant communities.
“We have found out during the International Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission (IFFSM) that Martial Law in Mindanao resulted to the wanton violation of CAHRIHL. Farmers are killed, slapped with trumped-up charges, subjected to different human rights violations. These violations must stop and the perpetrators must be held accountable,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.
“Farmers await the finalization and approval of a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) that will help address the roots of the armed conflict. Discussions on CASER should pick up where it left off – on the discussions of the Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED). Both panels should firm up earlier unity and agreement on free land distribution,” says KMP chair Rafael Mariano, a former consultant of the GRP panel on ARRD during the formal round of the talks in 2017.
“The conduct of the peace talks may continue depending on what both panels may agree upon during the ongoing back channel talks in Utrecht. The negotiations on the table may continue but there will be no let-up in the farmers’ struggle for genuine land reform. Local land struggles, land cultivation activities and campaigns to dismantle land monopolies, haciendas and big landholdings,” says Ramos.
In Negros, farmers of the Mamumugon kag Mangunguma sa Hda Esperanza (MAMAEZ-KMP) in Brgy Nagasi continue with their land cultivation in over 40 hectares of awarded but undistributed lands Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) issued by DAR in 1996. For 22 years, the land had been under the control of big landowners through “lease back agreement.” In Bukidnon, Lumad farmers belonging to Tindoga are cultivating 132 hectares of land through land occupation. In Caraga, local chapters of KMP are leading five new land cultivation campaigns despite constant harassment of KMP members in Agusan and Surigao provinces.
Antonio Flores, KMP Secretary General 0921-2726682