Farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) joined thousands of freedom-loving citizens in today’s commemoration of the 34th anniversary of the Edsa People Power uprising. KMP national chairperson Danilo Ramos says that “we take inspiration from the heroic struggle of the Filipino people that toppled a dictator 34 years ago. More than 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 Duterte’s leadership and this rotten social system.”
“Fascism and dictatorship are concrete realities in peasant communities which up to this day face actual military rule due to heightened militarization,” Ramos explains. He declares that Executive Order 70 which created the NTF ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict), and Memorandum Order Number 32 which appointed additional battalions over Samar, Negros, and Bicol has created the conditions for an undeclared Martial Law nationwide. He points out that 244 farmers were already killed in relation to land dispute cases under the Duterte regime, making the Philippines the deadliest country in the world for land rights defenders. On the other hand, the death toll of the drug war has earlier reached 30,000. “The killings and attacks on the people’s human rights has been identical if not worse with those committed during Marcos’ Martial Law,” the peasant leader comments.
“When not outrightly killed through bullets, farmers are killed slowly with hunger, indebtedness, and bankruptcy,” Ramos adds. He cites in particular the Duterte administration’s legacy legislation in agriculture, the Rice Liberalization Law which allowed the unlimited dumping of foreign surplus rice over the domestic market. “Duterte’s destructive programs in agriculture also echo the Marcos dictatorship’s wreckage of domestic seed culture with the so-called Green Revolution which facilitated the propagation and dominance of imported chemical-intensive seed varieties,” Ramos says.
Ramos further comments that “Despite his anti-oligarch blabber, Duterte has also copied, if not transcended Marcos’ cronyism.” The profit of Duterte-allied politicians, most prominently the Villars, has multiplied since 2016. Duterte is also breeding his own cronies with the likes of Dennis Uy and Enrique Razon.
“Duterte’s failures and outright attacks against farmers and the rest of the people has long been excessive. We demand his immediate removal from office as to put a stop to his anti-peasant policies and to make use of government resources for the genuine benefit of the people. We appeal to the rest of the Filipino people especially the youth to unite and stand with us farmers in ending another dark age for our nation. More and more people increasingly see through Duterte’s fakery and lies; more and more are brought to action, out into the streets, and just like 34 years ago, more and more are wanting, preparing, and working for the toppling of yet another dictator.” Ramos ends. #