Farmers organizations led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas will march from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to the University of the Philippines this morning for the #SONAgKAISA protests coinciding with the fifth State of the Nation Address of Rodrigo Duterte. Farmers will carry a large art installation of “Peasant Lives Matter” that features the eyes of farmer Jimmy Saypan, the first peasant-victim of political killing under the Duterte administration. A big banner that reads “Magsasaka Hindi Terorista’ will also be unfurled to symbolize the rural sectors’ strong opposition to Duterte’s Terror Law.
“Farmers say enough is enough of Duterte. The President’s only legacies include the unprecedented poverty, hunger, and injustices of Filipinos. Duterte managed to single-handedly destroy the local economy and made the lives of Filipinos worse than ever. Duterte’s presidency is far more deadlier than the coronavirus. The next two years before the 2022 presidential elections would be unimaginably horrendous,” says KMP leader Danilo Ramos.
The farmers’ group said landlessness persists under the Duterte administration. “Duterte only protected his cronies, landlords, and big businesses and outrightly discarded farmers’ just demand for a new genuine land reform program and free land distribution. He also wasted all efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace and socio-economic reforms by terminating the peace negotiations. It was Duterte who refused to resolve the root causes of the armed strife and centuries-old feudal problems of the country.”
“Farmers also hold DAR accountable for the worsening landlessness in the country. This agency only managed to distribute CLOAs but failed to protect the security of land tenure of agrarian reform beneficiaries and land rights of farmers. DAR failed its mandate to deliver agrarian justice to millions of poor farmers and landless peasants. Thousands of land dispute cases remain unresolved despite DAR’s claim of zero-backlog and satisfactory performance for the first half of 2020. Big landholdings and haciendas remain intact and under the control of landlords, foreign plantations, and real estate businesses. Bitter land struggles persist and costing the lives of farmers,” the KMP leader added.
KMP also condemned the spate of peasant killings and state-sponsored human rights abuses — 262 farmers and land reform advocates killed under the Duterte administration and hundreds more illegally arrested and detained based on fabricated criminal charges.
The group said they will further protest renewed attempts of Cha-Cha that will amend the Constitution for so-called economic reforms that will further liberalize and plunder the local economy, allow 100-percent foreign ownership of land, and impose policies that would only benefit local and foreign businesses.
Ramos will also speak at the #SONAgKAISA program in UP.###