Philippines: Farmers groups’ week of marches against Aquino government

Riot police block farmers from marching to the Presidential palace in Manila

Bulatlat, October 16, 2010

Calling the Aquino government as a “haciendero regime” and the “number one enemy of peasants,” progressive farmers’ organizations from Central and Southern Luzon would converge at the office of the office of the Department of Agrarian Reform before marching to the historic Mendiola bridge on October 21.

MANILA — Farmers and agricultural workers from all over the country are asking for nothing less than genuine agrarian reform when they start observing Peasant Week on Oct. 18, Monday. “We have proven that for more than a year after it was passed, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension (CARPER) is also inutile,” Anakpawis Representative Rafael Mariano told Bulatlat. “It is now time to look into the free land distribution scheme, which is the framework of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill.”

The Peasant Week is annually observed by progressive farmers’ organizations to renew their vow to fight for a genuine agrarian reform program that will solve the centuries-old land problem in the country.

The theme of this year’s peasants march is “Lakbayan ng mga Magsasaka Laban sa Hacienderong Rehimen ni Aquino” (Long March of Farmers Against the Hacienda Regime of Aquino). At the north leg of the march in Luzon farmers would hold their first vigil in Tarlac on Oct. 18 while the Southern Tagalog Wing 1 and 2 would hold their vigil in Alabang and Batangas, respectively. The different groups are expected to converge at the Department of Agrarian Reform office in Quezon City on Oct. 21 before marching towards Mendiola in Manila.

The Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK or Federation of Farmers’ Associations in the Southern Tagalog Region) said they are already anticipating that the military and the police would attempt to stop them from continuing with their protest action, either by forming blockades or adding checkpoints around the region. “But we (have) warned them that nothing could stop our rage against this regime’s deafness to the peasants’ plight,” Kasama-TK secretary general Axel Pinpin said, adding that the election gun ban might also be used to file more trumped-up charges against peasants to prevent them from reaching Manila. Continue reading