MANILA – Marking the annual March 29 Global Day of the Landless, farmers, food security advocates, and multisectoral groups in the Philippines trooped to the Department of Agrarian Reform central office to demand a new and genuine agrarian reform program to replace the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Peasant organizations from landholdings with long-standing agrarian cases and disputes also pressed DAR’s action to resolve the cases in favor of the farmer-beneficiaries.
This year’s Day of the Landless theme is Rural peoples unite for food, land, and climate justice! Build our future without hunger, dispossession, and destruction!
Farmers from Isabela, Bulacan, Tarlac, Cavite, Palawan, Batangas, and Quezon joined the protest program outside DAR as they seek explanations from DAR officials especially agrarian reform secretary Conrad Estrella III.
KMP chapters in Bicol, Panay, Negros, and Southern Luzon provinces held similar farm protests or Protestang Bukid to mark the Day of the Landless.
According to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, eight months into the Marcos Jr. administration, farmers have yet to hear from the President on the following demands: 1) a new and genuine agrarian reform program to replace CARP; 2) the issuance of an Executive Order (EO) against the conversion of agricultural lands devoted to or suitable for the production of staple food crops; 3) and the resolution of long-standing agrarian disputes.
Farmer-beneficiaries from MAKISAMA-Tinang said they are getting frustrated waiting for DAR Sec. Estrella’s promise to install them within 45 days.
The Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan farmers’ reiterated their demand for DAR to review all land cases in the so-called Araneta lands of presidential brother-in-law Greggy Araneta in which several landholdings were never developed decades after DAR issued a conversion order in 1992.
KASAMA-Lupang Ramos from Cavite is appealing DAR’s denial of their petition for inclusion for CARP coverage of a 372-hectare landholding collectively tilled by farmers.
Potential farmer-beneficiaries from Angandanan, Isabela are seeking DAR’s urgent intervention on the harassment against them by security guards and landgrabbers as they assert non-payment of land rent on a landholding already issued with a Notice of Coverage from DAR.
Farmers from Central Luzon hacienda belt — Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Murcia and Balincanaway vented ire on the slow-paced resolution of their cases.
PAMALAKAYA spelled out the disastrous effects of reclamation projects along Manila Bay.
Organic rice farmers from Quezon expressed their solidarity with farmers asserting land reform.
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas discussed the Food Self-Sufficiency Bills filed in Congress and other important legislations. Amihan and Bantay Bigas
Youth Advocates for Climate Action PH outlined the struggle for climate justice.
Former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, also from the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura presented facts on why agriculture stakeholders and peasant sectors are resisting the Regional Comprehensive Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
The International League of People’s Struggles, KMU, Kalikasan-PNE, Gabriela, youth organizations, and advocates joined the protest.
(Photos from NNARA-Youth, UMANI Productions, and AMIHAN)