Farmers’ protest actions

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In Central Luzon (CL), more than 300 farmers from Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) and Partidong Anakpawis-CL launched a three-day protest action starting October 18. The first day of the protest was spent in front of the Clark Special Eco Zone in Angeles City, where other progressive organizations joined in. Their main demands were the repeal of RA 9700 (CARPER) and the enactment of HB374 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) filed by Partidong Anakpawis.

On the second day, the AMGL and Anakpawis-CL members gathered in Barangay San Roque, Tarlac where a violent demolition claimed the life of 15-year old John Khali Lagrimas. The protesters also condemned the continuing landgrabbing by the Clark Airbase Military Reservation and the Aquino regime’s puppetry to the US. They assailed the series of Balikatan military exercises in the region and Aquino’s other policies and programs that favor foreign capitalists and cause the eviction of farmers and urban poor.

Among those that joined the protests were leaders and members of Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) and other peasant organizations from other CL provinces affected by various destructive projects or programs. They went to Angeles City and held a vigil at Barangay Pulung Bulo where they launched another rally.

The next day, the farmers from Central Luzon and peasants Southern Tagalog merged in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) where they condemned DAR’s key role in perpetuating the hacienderos’ control over vast landholdings. DAR has been massively revoking Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), Certificates of Land Transfer (CLT), emancipation patents and other documents attesting that the land has been distributed to the farmers. They also assailed DAR’s role in inciting discord among the agricultural workers in Hacienda Luisita.

They slammed the DENR for allowing destructive mining operations in Zambales and black sand mining in Lingayen, Pangasinan, for disregarding the land problems of national minorities in Bayambang, Pangasinan and illegal logging in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. On the last day, the AMGL and Anakpawis-CL joined the KMP’s national protest at Mendiola.

The KMP likewise lambasted proposals by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro and Rep. Maximo Rodriguez of Abante Partylist of Mindanao for another five-year extension of CARPER. The KMP said 24 years of bogus land reform has done nothing to solve the land problem.