30 K farmers from Southern Tagalog signed petition calling for passage of new agrarian lawPosted: August 7, 2011
AUGUST 5, 2011
[Press release lifted from KASAMA-TK Facebook page.
30-K farmers from Southern Tagalog signed petition calling for passage of new agrarian law
MANILA, Philippines- Ten thousand (10,000) farmers from different provinces of Southern Tagalog signed a Peasant Manifesto urging both chambers of Congress to repeal Republic Act 9700 or the extended Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with reforms (Carper) law and instead replace Carper with a new and progressive land reform program pending before the House of Representatives known as House Bill 374 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB).
The extended CARP law or RA 9700 was signed on August 7, 2009 by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Its main authors were Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and former Akbayan Rep. Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel during the 14 session of Philippine Congress.
On other hand, GARB seeks to distribute for free all agricultural lands to landless tillers and those willing to till, involving private lands and lands controlled by feudal monopolies such as the 6,453 hectare Hacienda Luisita owned by the family of President Benigno Simeon Aquino and other similar haciendas such as Hacienda Yulo in Nasugbu, Batangas and Hacienda Yulo in Laguna province.
At a rally at Mendiola bridge coinciding with the third year of extended CARP, leaders of Southern Tagalog based Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK), the regional chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said about 10,000 farmers from Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental, Palawan and Romblon provinces signed the petition endorsing the urgent deliberation and eventual passage of HB 374 authored by progressive party list representatives headed by Anakpawis party list congressman Rafael Mariano.
Kasama-TK spokesperson Nelson Villanueva said the 10,000 signatories in the peasant manifesto reflected the collective interest and sentiment of farmers across Region IV and the same applies to many farmers in different regions.
‘The message is clear. Our farmers are demanding free land distribution as addressed by HB 374 or the GARB. The lawmakers should do their assignment and uphold the class interest of millions of farmers and rural people with the repeal of Carper and the passage of HB 374,” the Kasama-TK said in statement.
The peasant manifesto bearing more than 10,000 signatures was delivered and presented on Wednesday to the House Committee on Agrarian Reform chaired by Negros Oriental Rep. Henry Pryde Teves, hours before the House Committee on Appropriations tackled the proposed P 17.92 billion budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for 2012.
According to DAR, the agency needs P 545.9 million in Southern Tagalog alone for 2012 to cover its backlogs on land acquisition and distribution in the region involving not less than 50,000 hectares of undistributed lands.
DAR’s accomplishment report revealed that from 1972 – 2010, the department allegedly distributed 164,306 hectares in Region IV-A and 165,912 hectares in Region IV-B, but Kasama-TK said DAR was not truthful to its report, asserting that the Southern Tagalog region has been a major laboratory for land-use conversions since the time of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
Kasama-TK asserted that vast hectares of farmlands have been transformed into industrial enclaves, commercial centers and so-called ecotourism projects such as golf courses, courtesy of the provisions of CARP.
The regional peasant alliance said a total of 394,884 hectares in Southern Tagalog are still locked in agrarian disputes, which shows that the number agrarian cases in the region are far bigger and put into question the so-called accomplishment of DAR. #
For Reference: AXEL PINPIN, KASAMA-Timog Katagalugan Secretary General