Farmers and supporters marched 12 kilometers, braved heavy rains and water cannon attacks

and resisted violent dispersal to protest the bogus land reform law, Con Ass and Cha cha

 

Quezon City - ManilaI

 

June 4, 2009

 

Video of dispersal (from Bulatlat)

 

Video of dispersal (from STExposure)

 

'

 

 

It was raining most of the way but the farmers and their supporters marched on to Mendiola in high spirits

 

   

Supporters of the farmers from the youth and student sector bear the brunt of the water cannon attack

 

What's wrong with the bogus land reform law called  CARPER?

 

"How can I support such a program when the Honorable sponsor Edcel Lagman admitted during interpellation that HB 4077 will not correct what he called the "congenital defects" of RA 6657? These include the following major flaws:

 

(1) the exclusion of vast tracts of CARP-able land due to technical classifications, land use conversions and retention limits;

(2) the provisions for alternative modes of compliance which denies the farmer beneficiaries full ownership and control of the land;

(3) a payment scheme that keeps farmers in a continued life of debt and servitude to the landlord or the Land Bank. In fact I learned from the Land Bank in a hearing this morning that 62% of the CARP beneficiaries can not pay the annual amortization;

(4) a valuation and compensation scheme that provides vast opportunities for graft and corruption and the connivance of DAR officials and landlords in milking billions of taxpayers' money; and

(5) voluntary land sale and transfer schemes that is corruption-prone and gives landlords the upper hand over their erstwhile tenants."

 

- Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño

 

/p

/p
           


May 31, 2009
Nationwide rallies set against extension of CARP

DAY OF OUTRAGE AGAINST CARPer lies and deceptions
Nationwide rallies set against extension of CARP

Farmer groups in 57 provinces and 15 sub-regional formations all over the country this week will stage a nationally coordinated protest against the looming passage of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with reforms (CARPer) according to the activist peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said on June 4, regional and provincial chapters of Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Amihan national federation of peasant women will join his group in an across-the-nation mass action against what they called “A National Day of Outrage Against CARPer Lies and Deceptions”

“On June 4, the landlord dominated Congress in conspiracy with pseudo farmer groups and apologists of the bogus of CARPer will be condemned to the highest level by tens of thousands rural people whose interest were betrayed and sacrificed for the nth rime around by the extension of the fake, anti-farmer and pro-landlord land reform program,” the KMP leader said.

Ramos said anti-CARPer protest actions will be participated by farmers from Bataan, Zambales, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Aurora and Pangasinan in Central Luzon, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, all in Ilocos provinces, Abra and Benguet in Cordillera, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon in Southern Tagalog, Camarines Sur, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate in Bicol Region.

The KMP leader said anti-CARPer protests will also be held in Davao City, Digos City in Davao del Sur, General Santos City and Sarangani, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Butuan City, Cagayan de Oro City, Tacloban City in Leyte, Bacolod City in Negros Oriental, Dumaguete City in Negros Occidental, Iloilo City in Iloilo, Kalibo City in Aklan, Cebu City, Tagbilaran City in Bohol to cite a few.

In Manila, Ramos said some 2,000 farmers and fisherfolk from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon provinces will arrive on June 3 and will hold a vigil at the gates of the House of Representatives. The following day, the protesters will hold a peasant caravan against CARPer and for the passage of House Bill 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) from Batasan to the Department of Agrarian of Reform in Quezon City.

From DAR, the farmers will march to Mendiola where they will burn 1,500 copies of CARPer to symbolize their outrage against the passage of the law what will extend CARP to another five years.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said even if Congress retains the compulsory acquisition and the land acquisition and distribution provision under CARPer, the extended land reform program will remain nothing but toothless tiger, totally empty and extremely ridiculous.

“The proponents of CARPer are hiding big, big secrets to the farmers who are made to believe that the extension of the 21-year old bogus land reform program will result to compulsory acquisition and land acquisition and distribution of some 1.2 million hectares of agricultural lands to farmer beneficiaries,” he said.

Perfecting amendments

One of the perfecting amendments proposed under CARPer is the phasing of land acquisition and distribution, which requires the government to cover 50 hectares and above without prejudice to the coverage of lands below 50 hectares, after an accomplishment report of 90 percent per province.

“While it sounds good at face value, it is meaningless in substance. Why? Because it would be hard to do so since majority of lands of up to 50 hectares and above are locked in various disputes in many regular courts across-the-country, including quasi judicial courts like DARAB (DAR adjudicatory board). The DAR is a willing hostage to these agrarian disputes and it will not act on cases where there are legal problems. So the so-called LAD and compulsory acquisition are nothing but useless entities under CARPer,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Another perfecting amendment to CARPer, which KMP and Pamalakaya described as extremely anti-farmer is the leaseback arrangement scheme wherein lands already awarded to land reform beneficiaries could be re-acquired by the former landowners and corporations through leaseback agreements.

“The purpose of this amendment is to provide venue for landlords and corporations to re-acquire and regain control of lands. The CARPer is allowing big landlords to retake and landgrab lands through the dubious leaseback arrangements,” Hicap stressed.

For her part, Kasama-TK (Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan) spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo said another perfecting amendment to CARPer which will be sneaked is the institutionalization of commercial farm plantations will which further empower landlords and agro-corporations to refuse coverage of their lands by declaring them farm plantations for commercial and export activities.

Lacandazo said the provision in CARPer which allows the compensation to landowners and increasing the down payment from the present 25% to 30% to 50 percent revealed the real intent of CARPer which is to retain is “milking cow” orientation of landlords and other landed estate entities across the country.

“CARPer is nothing but a real estate transaction between the state and the landlords. This is one of the insertions and cruel intentions of this bogus land reform bill that seeks to prolong the life of this comatose land reform program,” she said.

According to Pamalakaya, the CARPer perfecting amendment declaring farmers as habitual squatters and making them criminally liable will be exploited and abused by landlords and big agro corporations to deny peasant land rights and evict them from farm lands.

Afraid of GARB?

The KMP, Pamalakaya and other pro-GARB groups challenged the peasant groups identified with the CARPer bloc to withdraw their support to the extension bill and instead shift their agrarian reform advocacy to the controversial bill authored by the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela Women’s Party list Reps. Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

“Are they afraid of the GARB? There’s nothing wrong about HB 3059. GARB cannot go wrong because it real agenda is to achieve social justice for the farmers across the country,” they said.

Kasama-TK said the issues raised and ranged against the Beltran bill like constitutionality, just compensation, due process etc. etc were clearly addressed by the authors and resource persons during the hearing.

“If Chairman Rep. Elias Bulut (Apayao) and members of the House committee on agrarian reform are not afraid, they should prove it by preparing and signing a committee report and bring it to the plenary for a major political debate and showdown,” the group added.

KMP, Pamalakaya and Kasama-TK recalled that in 1993, Sentra, a non-government organization together with other farmer groups conducted a preliminary assessment of CARP from 1988 to 1993, and one of the striking results of program was revealed— a total of 10,958 certificate of land transfers (CLTs), 9,133 EPs and 2,303 CLOAs were cancelled by DAR covering 32, 041 hectares of prime agricultural lands affecting over 22,000 CARP beneficiaries.

“In fact, CARP led to stories of land reform reversals from 1993 up to present with the thousands of cases of land titles having been cancelled or rebuked by DAR to pave way for across-the-country land use conversions that went on full speed ahead in the 90s,”the groups said.

KMP and Pamalakaya cited the case of farmers in Southern Tagalog which said that from 1994 up to 2007, about 1,302,375 hectares of prime agricultural lands have been placed by DAR under conversion and such terrible act led to the massive land reform reversals with the cancellation of land titles all over the region.

During the same period, they said around 173,000 hectares of prime agricultural lands in the region have been already converted for commercial purposes; leaving tens of thousands of supposed to be CARP beneficiaries landless.

“This is the kind of sham land reform which CARP had offered and would still offer to poor farmers and rural people all over the country if Congress passes this shotgun, double bladed piece of legislation”, the groups added. #

From:
http://pampil.wordpress.com/

 


Police Disperse Rally
 - Video from Bulatlat
 

PAMALAKAYA leader Tonying Flores in a standoff with the police
     
     
     
     
     

First UP Staff Regent and Former All UP Workers Union President Clodualdo Cabrera

(in yellow Tshirt) resisting dispersal by the police of their ranks

     
           
           
           
     
           

 

Explanation of "No" vote to the CARP Extension Bill (House Bill No. 4077)
By Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño
June 3, 2009

Twenty years ago, our distinguished colleague in the 8th Congress, the late Rep. Bonifacio Gillego, the main author and staunchest proponent of agrarian reform at that time, declared the comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP) a corpse.

"My task," he said in explaining his negative vote on Hose Bill No. 400, which eventually became Republic Act No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, "is to deliver a funeral oration on CARP." His point being that the 8th Congress had watered down and mangled agrarian reform beyond recognition and removed it of its heart and soul.

Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues, by extending the life of the zombie of an agrarian reform program that is RA6657, even with token amendments which we did tonight, we are repeating the very same sin of the 8th Congress of crafting a defective and anti-farmer agrarian reform law.

How can I support such a program when the Honorable sponsor Edcel Lagman admitted during interpellation that HB 4077 will not correct what he called the "congenital defects" of RA 6657? These include the following major flaws: (1) the exclusion of vast tracts of CARP-able land due to technical classifications, land use conversions and retention limits; (2) the provisions for alternative modes of compliance which denies the farmer beneficiaries full ownership and control of the land; (3) a payment scheme that keeps farmers in a continued life of debt and servitude to the landlord or the Land Bank. In fact I learned from the Land Bank in a hearing this morning that 62% of the CARP beneficiaries can not pay the annual amortization; (4) a valuation and compensation scheme that provides vast opportunities for graft and corruption and the connivance of DAR officials and landlords in milking billions of taxpayers' money; and (5) voluntary land sale and transfer schemes that is corruption-prone and gives landlords the upper hand over their erstwhile tenants.
 

Ang mga kahinaang ito na nasa batas mismo ang pangunahing dahilan kung bakit umabot na nang 20 taon ang CARP pero walang makabuluhang resulta. Ang hindi nagawa ng 20 taon hindi matatapos sa loob ng limang taon na extension ng CARP.
 

Kung kasumpa-sumpa ang ginawa ng 8th Congress sa pagpasa ng isang walang puso at walang kaluluwang agrarian reform law, mas kasumpa-sumpa ang ang ginagawa nating pagpapahaba ng programa na alam na nating palpak at hindi nagsilbi sa pagpapalaya at pagpapaunlad ng ating mga magsasaka sa loob ng 20 taon. Hindi matatanggap ng aking konsensya na sumuporta sa isang batas na magpapatuloy sa ganitong panlilinlang, pagsasamantala at pagpapahirap sa ating mga magsasaka.

Ang sabi ng iba, well meaning friends have told me: "Pagbigyan na natin ito. Ito lang ang maibibigay ng Kongreso, tanggapin na natin." I'm sorry, my dear colleagues, but as far as agrarian reform is concerned, I don't subscribe to the idea that something is better than nothing. Or that beggars can't be choosers. Our farmers are not beggars. They deserve more than the crumbs CARP and HB 4077 offers.

There are times when we have to draw the line. When we should reject compromise when it is already a sellout. I believe this is the time. I am here in Congress to protect the rights and interests of the farmers, and I will do so without compromise, especially if there is a sellout.

In any case, may pagkakataon pa tayong gumawa ng isang mas matino at maka-magsasakang batas para sa repormang agraryo. Isang batas na tunay na sasalamin sa interes ng karamihan ng ating mga kababayan - ang mga magsasakang nagpapakain sa ating bansa.

I am for a new and better agrarian reform law. Therefore I vote no to House Bill No. 4077.

Maraming salamat po.###

 

           
 

From: STExposureRealReels

 

Pro-GARB farmers triumphant despite violent dispersal

June 4, 2009 - Farmers led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) were violently dispersed during the 2nd day of their 2-day protest action. This rally on June 3-4 marked the culmination of their 54-day camp out calling for the immediate enactment of HB 3059 or Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), and the scrapping of the pro-landlord HB 4077 or Comprehensive Agrarian reform Program with Extension and Reforms (CARPer) and Charter Change (ChaCha). The police might have prevented them from reaching the Mendiola Bridge, but the farmers and other sectoral groups, remained triumphant at the end of the day. Despite the harsh beatings and the water cannon, their rank stood still and strong. Rather than stopping them, the violent dispersal made the farmers more determined in their fight for the right to the land they till.

           

 

Proof of CARP's failure
Taipan grabs land from Hacienda Looc farmers

News Release
27 May 2009

Question: How can a multibillionaire like Henry Sy and his Manila Southcoast Development Corporation (MSDC) manage to wrest more than 8,000 hectares of prime agricultural land from farmers who have been tilling the area for generations?

Answer: By using the loopholes in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Warning that the passage of the CARP extension will not remedy the flaws of the land reform program, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño today took the cudgels for thousands of farmers in Hacienda Looc, Nasugbu, Batangas who are locked in a dispute with Henry Sy's MSDC over their lands.

"The case of Hacienda Looc, where a known taipan took away the land tilled by CARP farmer-beneficiaries, only proves that CARP is a big failure. Thus our position that a new law as proposed in House Bill No. 3059 should replace the defective CARP,” said Casiño.

Casiño today filed House Resolution titled: "A resolution directing the Committee on Agrarian Reform to Investigate the Failure of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the Case of Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas, with the End in View of Protecting the Farmer-Beneficiaries and other Residents whose Rights are being Continuously Violated by the Manila Southcoast Development Corporation (MSDC) Owned by Business Tycoon Henry Sy”.

He said the resolution would investigate how CARP lands managed to find themselves in the hands of Sy's MSDC. It also directs the House to look into complaints of intimidation, coercion, deception, destruction of property, disruption of economic activities, and other human rights violations allegedly committed by security guards of the MSDC against several farmer-beneficiaries in Hacienda Looc who refuse to leave or sell their lands.

“These violations were apparently done under the direct orders of a big-time realty business entity owned by no less than Filipino billionaire Henry Sy. Here, we see how a taipan victimizes farmers as CARP benefits big businesses at the expense of tillers, yet Congress wants to extend the program,” lamented Casiño.

“Government has a lot of explaining to do on why in 1994, the Asset Privatization Trust effected the sale of Hacienda Looc in total disregard of the rights of farmer-beneficiaries and made a big joke of what had been touted as a centerpiece social justice tool, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program,” said Casiño.

Hacienda Looc, a vast tract of land comprising of 8,650.7778 hectares in Nasugbu, Batangas, with a population of over 10,000, is agriculturally productive. Under the CARP, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) distributed Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to 1,393 farmers in Hacienda Looc from 1991-1993, covering an area of 3,981 hectares.

On August 30, 1994, a Deed of Sale was issued by the Asset Privatization Trust (APT) in favor of the MSDC, effecting the sale of the entire Hacienda Looc to the MSDC after having paid P215 million. On petition by MSDC, the DAR eventually canceled its own CLOAs to the detriment of the farmer beneficiaries.

The recreational and residential project of the MSDC, the Hamilo Estate, will cover approximately 870 hectares on its initial phase, and will have such facilities as a golf course and club house, residential condominiums on mountain ridges and hilltops, a sports club and recreation complex, a marina and yacht club, a ferry terminal and a floating hotel among others.###


www.bayanmuna.net
Posted on May 27 by Administrator

 

     

Not able to disperse the protesters, the police called in its firetruck to water cannon the farmers and the activists. Two more firetrucks arrived shortly thereafter.

           

 

The State Terror That Is the Constitutional Assembly
Statement of the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND)
June 8, 2009

When an incumbent president is guilty of graft and corruption, massive electoral fraud, human rights violations and the worst forms of complicity to imperialist plunder and violence, any move that will indefinitely extend her power must be opposed absolutely.

The formation of a Constitutional Assembly that will eventually adopt changes to the Constitution is yet another attempt by the U.S.-Arroyo regime to use the rule of law as a means for felonious ends.

Macapagal-Arroyo' s Cha-Cha sideswipes our historic struggle for peaceful and and progressive Philippines.

What is at stake in opposing the Macapagal-Arroyo- sponsored
Constitutional Assembly is our right and responsibility to defend the people's democratic rights. While the current constitution is not perfect, it is only through the democratic exercise of our freedoms can we determine the changes needed for the rule of law to serve the people.

The proposed Charter Change (Cha-Cha) poses a threat to the hard-won provisions enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution which addresses the abuse of military power and the fascist character of a government that only protects the interest of the ruling elite. The prohibition against the permanent settlement of military troops and their engagement in combat exercises within our territory is the people's vow to defend national sovereignty. Arroyo's fascistic regime, however, can only run to its imperialist master to reinforce and inflict its perverse sense of law and order. With more that 1,000 victims of extra-judicial killings and more than 200 people disappeared since Arroyo assumed office in 2001, it is our most urgent task to expose the most brutal forms of torture and killing this regime has unleashed and thwart all sorts of maneuvers for Arroyo to sow state terror beyond 2010.

Provisions against foreign ownership of public lands and utilities in the current Constitution are a testament to our commitment to national industrialization. Yet Cha-Cha attempts to lift provisions that protect Philippine economy from unlimited foreign economic domination. Amid the toughest of times, what we need are job security, domestic growth and access to social services. Arroyo's Cha-Cha totally eradicates our claims to these constitutional rights in its bid to allow the most powerful foreign entities to exploit our natural resources. Cha-Cha's absurd purpose is to further empower foreign corporations to operate, gain absolute control over and rake profits from utilities such as electricity, communications and water. Instead of genuine change, Arroyo's Cha-Cha aims to further entrench the neoliberal doctrine gleaned in the new provisions' bias for foreign and private big business to take control over public utilities and our democratic institutions.

The Constitutional Assembly that will pave the way for Arroyo's Cha-Cha is nothing but the ruling clique's means to manage the systemic crisis and the overwhelming opposition to the oppressive system that it generates from the people. The Arroyo regime is making use of an erstwhile formula tried and proven to be bankrupt: it aims to manipulate the legal structure for the same to set the limits to the contradictory forces that, with our decisive intervention, would turn Philippine society around.

CONTEND strongly condemns the congressional lapdogs of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo responsible for yet another obscene fraud committed against the people. We call on our fellow educators to arouse, mobilize and organize among our colleagues and students to join the thousands upon thousands of angry yet hopeful voices demanding for justice, freedom and democracy.

Oppose the Arroyo-led Constitutional Assembly, JUNK CHA-CHA!
Down With Imperialist Plunder! Up With Our Struggle for National Sovereignty!
End Macapagal Arroyo's fascist regime, OUST GMA!
Join the June 10 Makati rally to Junk Con Ass, 5 pm,
Corner of Ayala and Paseo de Roxas

The Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy or CONTEND is a progressive organization of academics based in the University of the Philippines- Diliman.

www.freeweb.com/upcontend/

 

     
     
     
           
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May 19, 2009
 

No assurance lands will be distributed even if CARP is extended, says critics

Groups opposed to the extension of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) on Tuesday said prolonging the life of the twenty-year old land reform program is not an assurance that the Department of Agrarian Reform will be able to distribute the remaining 1.2 million hectares of private agricultural lands to farmer beneficiaries.

In a press statement the anti-CARP groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Southern Tagalog-based Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said proponents of CARP are only misleading the Filipino farmers.

“Apologists of this bogus, anti-farmer and pro-landlord land reform program keep on saying that extending CARP for another five years will enable the agrarian reform department to distribute the remaining 1.2 million hectares of private agricultural lands to landless farmers. How sure are they that such promise of agrarian justice is true and realizable?” KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said.

The KMP leader added: “Let me set the record straight, the DAR over the last 20 years of implementation failed to present a terminal report on CARP implementation. They are hiding something big, a best kept secret in favor of big landlords, corrupt officials and their partners in crime in and out of agrarian reform department.”

Ramos added that past and present DAR secretaries have repeatedly said that they have covered and accomplished the distribution of some 6.5 million hectares of agricultural lands to qualified beneficiaries, but until now nothing has been said if these lands covered for distribution were really physically transferred to farmer beneficiaries and their ownership over these lands were assured.

“Since 1988, DAR is merely preoccupied with doctoring the statistics of land distribution to convince the public that land reform and agrarian justice exist within the framework of CARP. However, if we ask the agrarian reform on land reform inventory and performance audit of land reform, all we got from them is an executive summary of lands distributed to farmer beneficiaries,” he added.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap backed KMP’s questioning of the existence of real and massive land distribution under CARP which Congress seeks to extend for another five years, further asserting that what happened in 20 years of the agrarian reform program was token land distribution and not thoroughgoing land reform program.

“DAR did not mention that majority of the 6.5 million hectares they had covered under CARP were locked in layers of agrarian disputes before various courts and quasi-judicial courts across the country, and that these lands although covered were not distributed to landless farmers,” he said.

The Pamalakaya leader recalled that in1993, Sentra, a non-government organization together with other farmer groups conducted a preliminary assessment of CARP from 1988 to 1993, and one of the striking results of program was revealed— a total of 10,958 certificate of land transfers (CLTs), 9,133 EPs and 2,303 CLOAs were cancelled by DAR covering 32, 041 hectares of prime agricultural lands affecting over 22,000 CARP beneficiaries.

“In fact, CARP led to stories of land reform reversals from 1993 up to present with the thousands of cases of land titles having been cancelled or rebuked by DAR to pave way for across-the-country land use conversions that went on full speed ahead in the 90s,” added Hicap.

Quoting a joint study of Sentra and Kasama-TK, Pamalakaya cited the case of farmers in Southern Tagalog which said that from 1994 up to 2007, about 1,302,375 hectares of prime agricultural lands have been placed by DAR under conversion and such terrible act led to the massive land reform reversals with the cancellation of land titles all over the region.

During the same period, Pamalakaya said around 173,000 hectares of prime agricultural lands in the region have been already converted for commercial purposes; leaving tens of thousands of supposed to be CARP beneficiaries landless.

“This is the kind of sham land reform which CARP had offered and would still offer to poor farmers and rural people all over the country if Congress passes this shotgun, double bladed piece of legislation”, the group added.

Pamalakaya said the 1.2 million hectares which DAR vows to distribute to landless farmers under an extended CARP is a misnomer, saying that the national government plan is not to distribute the remaining 1.2 million hectares of private agricultural lands but to lease or sell them to foreign investors.

“There is no such thing as genuine agrarian reform and distribution of lands in the old CARP and even in the extended CARP. The purpose of the government is to lease or sell lands to big agribusiness whether these are foreign or domestic entities,” the group added.

Meanwhile, Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo, one of the organizers of the 54-day Rural Camp Out for Genuine Land Reform and Against Chacha challenged President Arroyo, the Senate and the House of Representatives to certify HB 3059 or GARB as an urgent bill if the administration is really sincere in implementing a thoroughgoing land reform in the country.

Declaring the 20-year old CARP as dead, KMP, Pamalakaya and Kasama-TK together with peasant groups from BTL (Buffalo-Tamarraw-Limus) in Bukidnon province today cremated CARP to signify that the present land reform program is dead and the country needs a new legislated agrarian reform program through GARB.

While the first committee hearing of GARB is set on May 20, it is about time for the Philippine Congress to give full consideration on the proposed law without the resurrection of a dead law. There is no more room for debate if CARP is extended or not, instead the government should pass a new land reform law which is genuine and pro-farmer and GARB is providing every assurance that is indeed an agrarian reform that arises from the legitimate demands of the landless peasants all over the country,” Kasama-TK said. #

 

 

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KATIPUNAN NG MGA SAMAHAN NG MIGRANTENG MANGGAGAWA SA KOREA
PRESS STATEMENT:

Congress approval of House Bill 1109 is “betrayal of the Filipino people ” OFWs in South Korea opined

“We will not let this charade and duplicity of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her allies in the House of Representatives pass without raising our fierce resistance to the setting-up of a constituent assembly to amend the 1987 Constitution. This is a betrayal of the Filipino people and high treachery,” said Pol Par, Chairperson of the Katipunan ng mga Samahan ng Migranteng Manggagawa sa Korea or KASAMMAKO.

Pol Par believes that the railroading of parliamentary process by the pro-Arroyo lawmakers in Congress to approve House Bill 1009 constituting both the Congress and Senate to a Constitutional Assembly (Con-ass) to amend the 1987 Constitution is an act of puppetry devoid of moral decency and callousness. They have treated the 1987 Constitution as a piece of soiled table napkin that can be easily disposed of after a full-meal, yet they want some more of pork barrel on their treacherous tables.

“This hideous scheme of Mrs. Arroyo to amend the Constitution reveals her desperate ambition to cling to power after 2010 through revision of the term limits of the President and other elected government officials, economic and political provisions, and paving the way to change the set up of the government from Presidential to Parliamentary system. Staying in power is Mrs. Arroyo’s delusion of grandeur. She thinks that staying in power beyond 2010 is the only way that she could escape the people’s vengeance when her term ends as numerous cases are to be filed against her once her Presidential immunity has ended,” the OFW leader continued.

“There are numerous cases of graft and corruption involving her and the First Gentleman, the continuing political repression, extra-judicial killings and abduction of leaders of opposition and people’s organizations. There is the continued criminal neglect to thousands of distressed OFWs in many countries around the world, are only few of the many political blunders of the Arroyo administration against the Filipino people. More so with pro-Arroyo’s lawmakers, instead of attending to more important bills that will alleviate the hardships of the people such as the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, the P125 across-the-board wage increase, and those that’ll improve services to OFWs, they allowed themselves to be duped into passing HB 1009”, the KASAMMAKO chairperson lamented.

“As an alliance of organizations of migrant workers in South Korea, KASAMMAKO will counteract this treacherous scheme of Mrs. Arroyo and her allies in Congress through mass protest actions in various forms and in an internationally coordinated manner. We will urge our families and relatives in the Philippines not to support or vote pro Con-ass lawmakers whose self-serving political and economic interests are more important than the common good of the Filipino people,” Pol Par concluded.

MR. POL PAR
Chairperson
Katipunan ng mga Samahan ng Migranteng Manggagawa sa Korea (KASAMMAKO)
Seoul, South Korea
Contact numbers: 82-106-8727-526

     
     
     
     

Activists from the youth and student sector came forward to the front line to help the farmers resist the violent dispersal

     
           
     
     
Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano and other leaders negotiated with the police for the rallyists to hold their program at the Recto-Morayta intersection.
     

 

May 24, 2009
Carper solons hiding landlord insertions, cruel intentions— KMP

Pro-CARP solons accused of hiding “landlords’ insertions and cruel intentions” on extended land reform bill

Leftwing farmer groups calling for the enactment of the controversial Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill No. 3059 on Sunday accused proponents of CARPer (CARP extension with reforms) bill of hiding the landlords’ “insertions and cruel intentions” incorporated to what pro-GARB groups as perfecting amendments to the extension bill.

“The proponents of CARPer are hiding big, big secrets to the farmers who are made to believe that the extension of the 21-year old bogus land reform program will result land acquisition and distribution of some 1.2 million hectares of agricultural lands to farmer beneficiaries,” the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a joint statement.

“There will be no comprehensive and massive land acquisition and distribution under CARPer. What will be covered will be in accordance with the tokenistic approach of CARP since 1988, nothing more, nothing less,” KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos and Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a joint statement.

One of the perfecting amendments to CARPer is the leaseback arrangement scheme wherein lands already awarded to land reform beneficiaries could be re-acquired by the former landowners and corporations through leaseback agreements. “The purpose of this amendment is to provide venue for landlords and corporations to re-acquire and regain control of lands,” Ramos said.

The KMP leader said another perfecting amendment to CARPer which will defeat land acquisition and distribution is the institutionalization of commercial farm plantations will which further empower landlords and agro-corporations to refuse coverage of their lands by declaring them farm plantations for commercial and export activities.

For his part, Pamalakaya’s Hicap the provision in CARPer which allows the compensation to landowners and increasing the down payment from the present 25% to 30% to 50 percent revealed the real intent of CARPer which is to retain is “milking cow” orientation of landlords and other landed estate entities across the country.

“CARPer is nothing but a real estate transaction between the state and the landlords. This is one of the insertions and cruel intentions of this bogus land reform bill that seeks to prolong the life of this comatose land reform program,” the fisherfolk leader said.

According to Pamalakaya, the CARPer perfecting amendment declaring farmers as habitual squatters and making them criminally liable will be exploited and abused by landlords and big agro corporations to deny peasant land rights and evict them from farm lands.

The KMP, Pamalakaya and other pro-GARB groups challenged the peasant groups identified with the CARPer bloc to withdraw their support to the extension bill and instead shift their agrarian reform advocacy to the controversial bill authored by the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela Women’s Party list Reps. Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

“Are they afraid of the GARB? There’s nothing wrong about HB 3059. GARB cannot go wrong because it real agenda is to achieve social justice for the farmers across the country,” said the Southern Tagalog-based peasant group Kasama-TK.

Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo, one of the resource persons during the House Committee on Agrarian Reform which tackled GARB last week said the issues raised and ranged against the Beltran bill like constitutionality, just compensation, due process etc. etc were clearly addressed by the authors and resource persons during the hearing.

“If Chairman Rep. Elias Bulut (Apayao) and members of the House committee on agrarian reform are not afraid, they should prove it by preparing and signing a committee report and bring it to the plenary for a major political debate and showdown,” added Lacandazo.

KMP, Pamalakaya and Kasama-TK recalled that in 1993, Sentra, a non-government organization together with other farmer groups conducted a preliminary assessment of CARP from 1988 to 1993, and one of the striking results of program was revealed— a total of 10,958 certificate of land transfers (CLTs), 9,133 EPs and 2,303 CLOAs were cancelled by DAR covering 32, 041 hectares of prime agricultural lands affecting over 22,000 CARP beneficiaries.

“In fact, CARP led to stories of land reform reversals from 1993 up to present with the thousands of cases of land titles having been cancelled or rebuked by DAR to pave way for across-the-country land use conversions that went on full speed ahead in the 90s,”the groups said.

KMP and Pamalakaya cited the case of farmers in Southern Tagalog which said that from 1994 up to 2007, about 1,302,375 hectares of prime agricultural lands have been placed by DAR under conversion and such terrible act led to the massive land reform reversals with the cancellation of land titles all over the region.

During the same period, they said around 173,000 hectares of prime agricultural lands in the region have been already converted for commercial purposes; leaving tens of thousands of supposed to be CARP beneficiaries landless.

“This is the kind of sham land reform which CARP had offered and would still offer to poor farmers and rural people all over the country if Congress passes this shotgun, double bladed piece of legislation”, the groups added. #
 

AMIHAN's Zeny Soriano
PAMALAKAYA's Fernando Hicap
BAYAN's Renato Reyes, Jr.
     
     
           
     
Peasant leaders from various regions took turns in lambasting the bogus land reform law and the Con Ass and Chacha
           

 

May 30, 2009
Militants declare US defense chief persona-non-grata

UNDESIRABLE ALIEN
Militants declare US defense chief persona-non-grata

Leftwing activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday declared visiting US Defense Secretary Robert Gates a persona non-grata.

“He is not welcome here. As far as the Filipino people are concerned US Defense Secretary Gates is an undesirable alien and militarist high level personnel of Washington to wants to spread the Gospel of unjust war and destruction in the country,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

According to Hicap, Gates is a certified war monger and an addict of US war on aggression. He said prior to his appointment as Washington’s new defense chief, Gates served for 22 years in the Central Intelligence Agency of US and was the director of US Central Intelligence under former US President George W. Bush.

“Gates credentials as an obsessed political military animal on US war of aggression made him US President Barrack Obama’s first choice for the position and his visit to the Philippines is meant for further US military intervention and war of aggression across-the-archipelago,” Pamalakaya’s Hicap added.

According to Malacañang, Gates will be in the Philippines for a two-day visit starting tomorrow to further strengthen military and security cooperation between the Philippines and the US government.

This is the first visit of a top Washington official to the country under the administration of US President Barrack Obama. Palace officials say Gates will meet on Monday President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Arroyo and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro to discuss key regional security developments and bilateral defense cooperation between the two countries.

“Gates will deliver Obama’s marching order to the puppet president that includes the lifetime effectivity of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the counter-insurgency program to eliminate groups highly critical of Washington’s economic, political and military interests in the Philippines,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

“Definitely, Gates will open the gates of hell for the rapid forward deployment of US troops in the country in the name of Washington’s war on terror campaign that will justify American troops’ involvement in Oplan Bantay Laya campaign being waged by the military against armed and unarmed political groups highly critical of the Obama’s cruel intentions and sinister agenda in the Philippines,” Hicap added.

Sources said the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a military treaty signed by the Philippines and the US in 1999, is likely to figure in the discussions between the US defense chief and Philippine officials.

Last month, the case against US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith previously convicted by a lower court of raping a Filipino woman was dismissed by the Court of Appeals, which has led to renewed calls for the abrogation or review of VFA, citing lopsided terms in the agreement.

But officials of the Arroyo government asserted that the VFA continues to be beneficial to both countries, stressing that US and Philippine military cooperation has led to the capture and death of key leaders of the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group, a terrorist organization that has links with Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and is responsible for terror attacks across the country.

The US is the Philippines only mutual defense treaty partner and is the largest source of foreign military financing. US Foreign Military Financing to the Philippines, which contributes to the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization efforts, is the 12th largest in the world. Of all the countries in East Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines also receives benefits the most from the US government’s International Military and Education Training program. #
 

CARPER: Consigning to the flames the bogus land reform program
     
           
March from the Dept of Agrarian Reform kapmuhan in Quezon City  to Morayta/Mendiola in Manila
           
     
     
           

 

Another ‘Travesty’ as Congress Votes to Extend Life of Failed CARP
PUBLISHED ON June 4, 2009 AT 9:07 AM
www.bulatlat.com

The landlord-dominated Congress, led by the relatives of President Arroyo, voted Wednesday night to add five more years to the implementation of a 20-year-old agrarian-reform program that has failed to uplift the lives of peasants and farmers in the Philippines. And critics say the new proposed law is even worse than the original.

By MAO HERMITANIO and JANESS ANN J.ELLAO
Bulatlat

MANILA – A day after members of the House of Representatives approved a resolution that would pave the way for the possible extension of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s rule, they passed on third and final reading a controversial bill extending the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program – a bill that progressive partylist legislators had rejected for being anti-farmer, pro-landlord and worse than the original.

Led by the four relatives of President Arroyo (her two sons, her brother-in-law and sister-in-law), 211 legislators voted “yes” to House Resolution 4077, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER), 13 voted “no,” and only two abstained.

The bill intends to extend by five years the original Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). However, critics say CARPER is worse than CARP because it only reinforces the pro-landlord orientation of the original law.

Peasants, farmers and activists protesting in Congress Wednesday night. (Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao/ bulatlat.com)

Among those who defended the bill and voted for its passage were principal authors Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay and Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel of the party-list group Akbayan. Rep. Jun Alcover of the partylist and anti-communist group ANAD praised the CARPER bill, calling its passage a “victory for farmers and democracy.”

The CARPER’s approval is sure to stoke the anti-Arroyo fire created by the approval Tuesday night of the resolution that would convene Congress into a constituent assembly so it can amend the Constitution.

Already, farmers’ groups have lined up protest actions against CARPER, with one protest march scheduled today, Thursday, from the Department of Agrarian Reform office in Quezon City to Mendiola, where farmers calling for a genuine agrarian-reform program had been shot and killed.

Arroyo Lands

“If CARP is extended, would it distribute the lands of the Arroyos to farmers?” Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano asked his colleagues shortly before the bill was approved through nominal voting before midnight Wednesday. Some members of the Arroyo clan had been resisting the implementation of CARP for years, as do many of the country’s landowners.

Peasants, farmers and activists protesting in Congress Wednesday night. (Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)

CARP, Mariano added, “was used only to reconcentrate the land of a few landed families,” referring to loopholes in the original law that allow landowners to circumvent the program, for instance by turning their farmlands into non-agricultural property.

Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino said CARP “failed our farmers.” He said — by way of explaining his “no” vote — that he could find no “just and righteous reason to extend a bogus land program.”

Bayan Muna Teddy Casiño called CARP “heartless and soul-less.” He pointed out that even Lagman, the principal author of CARPER, had admitted that the proposed new law “will not correct the congenital defects” of CARP. “By extending the life of a zombie agrarian-reform program, we are repeating the sin of the 8th congress,” Casiño said.

Failed Program

CARP, passed in 1988 as part of President Corazon Aquino’s so-called social-justice program, has largely been a failure. The extensions it has been given, including the one under CARPER, only underscores this.

According to a study by the economic think-tank Ibon Foundation, full land ownership in the Philippines has actually been declining since 1972, when the dictator Ferdinand Marcos passed Presidential Decree No. 27 that created the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Fully owned farms during that period accounted for 63 percent of total farm area, but this decreased to around 50 percent in 2002.

“Although there was a decrease in the share of completely tenanted and leased lands, this did not translate into full ownership but only part ownership,” Ibon Foundation’s research head, Sonny Africa, wrote in 2006. This implies, he said, “a continuation of tenancy and lease arrangements.”

In fact, Africa pointed out, the Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) of 2002 reported that “only 11 percent of all families owning land other than their residence had obtained land through CARP.”

Africa explained that CARP’s failure is rooted in its pro-landlord orientation. “CARP is not about free land distribution to the tiller, which is the core of a genuine land reform program. Instead, CARP seeks to provide landlord compensation and require peasant beneficiaries to pay for land that they have been tilling for generations. Land reform under CARP is essentially a land transaction between landlords and peasants with the government acting as the middleman.”

CARP, Africa said, “cannot address peasant poverty and landlessness because it was never meant to.”

In a statement released today, Ibon said CARPER “strengthens the pro-landlord provisions of the failed CARP.” For one, it said, the bill “promotes the creation of more agrarian-reform communities (ARCs), further increasing the insecurity of land tenure in the countryside. The House version, in fact, seems to target the fine-tuning of the bankrupt ARC program to continue restructuring local agriculture in order to suit the needs of big land owners and agro-corporations.”

A protester denounces Akbayan and Rep. Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel for pushing a “bogus” bill. (Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)

Far from developing farming communities, as the name implies, ARCs have actually been used by landowners and big business to circumvent CARP. Among the ventures these communities go into are contract-growing schemes that favor companies and essentially turn the peasants into farm workers, not farm owners.

CARPER, as well as the agrarian-reform extension bill in the Senate, “reinforces the pro-landlord orientation of the original CARP, which was why it failed to make a dent in peasant landlessness in the first place,” Ibon Foundation said.

Additional Loopholes

Outside Congress hours before the voting, peasants and farmers have congregated to protest the impending passage of CARPER.

“CARPER creates additional loopholes to the already punctured CARP,” said Imelda Lacandazo, spokesperson of Kasama-TK, a peasant group from Southern Tagalog. “Twenty years of CARP is enough to conclude that it has and will never benefit our poor farmers.” CARPER is even worse than CARP, she said, especially after amendments were introduced that would further “reconcentrate lands in the hands of big landlords and big business.”

The progressive bloc in Congress led by partylist legislators from Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela and Kabataan tried to introduce amendments to CARPER but were prevented every step of the way.

Among the rejected amendments was the one scrapping the stock-distribution option in the original law, which has been blamed partly for CARP’s failure. This option allows landowners to give shares of stocks of a farm venture to farmers, instead of actually subdividing and distributing the land, which should be the intent of a genuine agrarian reform program.

Despite the rain on Wednesday, hundreds of farmers and activists lit their torches at the south gate of the Congress, with some banging on the doors of the gate. A firetruck was brought by House security to be used in case a dispersal was needed.

“We are not here to create trouble,” said Danilo Ramos, secretary-general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, or Peasant Movement of the Philippines). “We are here to express our sentiments about this law.”Ramos and his groups tried to enter the gallery to watch the plenary session but were prevented by House security, which even barred employees from entering the hall at some point during the day.

Lacandazo of Kasama-TK decried the prioritization of CARPER over the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB). Authored by the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran, GARB or House Bill 3059 seeks to distribute land to landless farmers for free. Filed in November 2007, GARB is still pending with the House committee on agrarian reform.

“A genuine land reform law is impossible to attain in a Congress dominated by landlords, greedy politicians and their cohorts,” Lacandazo said. “The true interest of the House leadership is clear – it is to perpetuate the Arroyo ruling clique in power, and not to serve the poor farmers, which make up the majority of this country.”

Rep. Dato Arroyo from Camarines Sur, the president’s son, defended his “yes” vote by saying that “what we need is an extension of CARP that may be seen faulty or flawed by many of our colleagues, but that extension is better than having nothing at all.”

(Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)

The House leadership conducted the nominal voting in an unusual way – it called on each legislator using the reverse alphabet, seemingly so that the Arroyos in Congress, all four of them, would not be among the first to vote “yes” one after the other.

And for some reason, many of those who voted for CARPER could not say their votes out loud and were using signs to communicate their “yes” votes.

 

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           

 

www.anakbayanhq.multiply.com
anakbayanphils@gmail.com
PRESS RELEASE
3 June 2009
Reference Person: Anton Dulce, Media Officer, 09151127148

Militant youths march to Mendiola today against Charter Change
Gloria Arroyo and Congress allies, positive for “power abuse” - ANAKBAYAN

“Mga adik sa kapangyarihan”

As ANAKBAYAN today joined other youth groups in an indignation rally to Mendiola, this was how ANAKBAYAN chairperson Ken Ramos described those who are railroading the passage of House Resolution 1109 before the House suspends its session on June 5.

According to Ramos, the passing HR 1109 and the changing of the Philippine Constitution has a simple objective: to protect Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from criminal cases awaiting her once her term expires on June 2010.

“Arroyo and her allies can’t ‘quit’ their addiction to power. Without it, they will not be able to protect GMA from prosecution in the same way they blocked all impeachment complaints against her. Short of declaring Martial Law, this is her last chance” said Ramos.

“ChaCha offers many routes to protect Arroyo. One, she could be elected as Prime Minister if our form of government is changed to parliamentary and she runs for Congress in her home province of Pampanga. Two, they could remove the passage restricting her from running for a third term. Three, she could have her term extended by serving as an ‘interim president’ to guide us with our new constitution” he explained.

Meanwhile, Ramos slammed the misguided set of priorities shown by the Congress in railroading HR 1109”.

“Ibang klase” was how Ramos described the June 2 session which lasted until midnight, “You couldn’t get them to attend deliberations on bills the people are clamoring for, such as the Three Year Tuition Increase Moratorium, P125 Wage Hike, and Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill. Pero dahil HR 1109 ang nakasalang, full-house bigla!”.

Ramos called on to the youth to join and initiate protest actions in the coming days.

“Like any substance abuser, the Arroyo Regime will stop at nothing to get what it wants. It’s time the people used the same therapy used on previous ‘power addicts’ like Marcos and Erap.”###

 

     
     
           

 

Student Christian Movement of the Philippines
3/F NCCP Compound, 879 EDSA Quezon City 1100
Mobile Number 09289526973 E-mail: news.scmp@gmail.com
CONVENOR: TANGGULAN Youth Network for Civil Liberties and Human Rights

For immediate release
NEWS RELEASE
June 3, 2009

Expect flocking of thousands to streets anew, youth warns Arroyo

Youth group Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) warned the Arroyo government of massive people’s protests to show their anger and shame over the railroading of the Con-Ass resolution for Charter Change last night.

“The youth condemns this evil maneuver to the highest level. The Charter Change was never for the people’s interests, but for the interests of the Arroyo clique,” SCMP chairperson Cristina Guevarra said.

In a protest held at the foot of Mendiola today, SCMP and other youth groups said they never believed that Charter Change was dead. They neither believed “the string of lies Arroyo’s cohorts in the House made just to pacify the people’s protests against ChaCha.”

“With what they did last night, they want to tell the Filipino people that they can do anything, with their greed in power. This is close to putting up a tyrannical rule,” she said.

Youth urges church, religious: Come together for prayer and action

SCMP challenged the faithful, especially the Catholic Church, to lead in massive prayer rallies in calling to junk Charter Change and the maneuvers of the Arroyo government to remain in power.

“Let us come together in prayer and action to exorcise our land of the greedy and tyrants in power,” Guevarra said.

The group stressed that Charter Change will not only lead to Arroyo’s term extension, but it will also open to 100 percent foreign ownership of the country’s resources.

“With Charter Change, the greedy and the evils of our society, those in Malacañang and its minions, will make a hell out of our country for their own vested interests. We call on our religious leaders to knock on the doors of the conscience of our people. There is no time but to act now,” Guevarra said.

SCMP said it will enjoin other religious youth organizations in declaring weeks of June and July as weeks of prayer and action, which will culminate in huge youth protests on July 10, and Arroyo’s SONA. ###

Reference: Ma. Cristina Guevarra, SCMP national chairperson 0
9186106275
 

     
     
           

 

PRESS STATEMENT
June 3, 2009

KAWAGIB urges government to prioritize plight of IDPs over Cha-Cha

DATU PIANG, Maguindanao—KAWAGIB Moro Human Rights group expresses utmost concern on mounting number of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) also known ‘bakwits’ in Maguindanao wrought by the continuing intensive surgical military operations against suspected positions of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) here.

The IDPs have been suffering in congested evacuation centers, schools buildings and shanties in vacant lots for ten months now since the fighting flared up in August 2008. They have been longing to return home but the situation has gotten even worst as the government incessantly carries on with its campaign against the MILF Commanders in Lanao and Maguindanao.

KAWAGIB has documented numerous human rights violations against the IDPs especially women and children. This year, there were eight incidents where rights of innocent civilians were violated. On January 20, 2009 two minors from barangay Libutan, Mamasapano, Maguindanao suffered from multiple wounds when hit by shrapnels from 105mm howitzer mortar.

On March 01, fifty seven families were once again forced to flee from Balong and Montay to Datu Piang after the military bombarded the nearby town of Kabuntalan. The following day, cousins Norhad Datukan, 14, Mamandok Edza, 10, Mahamidin Edza, 13 and Ebspangga Edza, 25 went to Lumopog, Midsayap to get their banca when two soldiers held and accused them as members of the MILF’s 105th Base Command. The minors told KAWAGIB that they were slapped by the soldiers and Ebspangga was detained for one day.

On April 20, Ustadz Ayub Guiamlod died in front of his students at the Jamaatul Jabar Madrasah due to heavy artillery from 155mm howitzer mortar. His students saw him fell to the floor trembling upon hearing the second round heavy
artillery fired at the target barangays in Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Datu Piang.

Kamid Samad, also an IDP, died when military launched 105mm howitzer mortar in Datu Unsay, Maguindanao on April 27. His son suffered from multiple wounds.

The number of IDPs in Maguindanao have now reached 50, 333 but only 15, 522 were served.

Further, there were also reports of militaries entering evacuation centers in Maguindanao and frisked random male IDPs accusing them of being members or supporters of the rebel group.

Last month, non government organizations delivering assistance to IDPs and media were barred from entering vacuation centers in Maguindanao. This act is a complete human rights violation as it exacerbates the sufferings of IDPs and deprives the right of the public to know the real situation of the affected civilians. Moreover, military men have occasionally controlled food rations through food blockade.

The government should concentrate in pursuing the peace talk with the MILF instead of adopting an all-out war policy and deploying more troops in the area. But apparently, it has no desire or intent to resolve the ongoing conflict.

While thousands of civilians continue to suffer in Maguindanao, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her minions are busy advancing ruse to stay in power. Arroyo’s allies in the Lower House have railroaded on Wednesday night House Resolution 1109, which calls on members of Congress to convene as a constituent assembly or Con-Ass.

The Arroyo government and its cohorts clearly have nothing on its agenda but maintaining its reign over the nation. Addressing the country’s immense social and economic problems is just secondary or a mere pretense. KAWAGIB is urging the government to end the clamor to stay in power and take a serious attention into the alarming situation of the IDPs in Maguindanao. #


 

     
     
           
     
◄ Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano being interviewed by Bulatlat writers

 

The route of the march from DAR to Mendiola   ►

     
 

June 3, 2009 at Batasan

 

Hundreds of militant activists trooped to the House of Representatives to denounce the passage of a resolution calling members of congress to convene into a constituent assembly to change the Philippine Constitution.

Braving pouring rain, the protesters blocked the buildings main gate, waving flags and delivering speeches calling congresspersons who voted for House Resolution number 1109 as shameless.

They also expressed unconditional support to the progressive party list congresspersons who valiantly opposed the said resolution.

The passage of the resolution in the dead of the night is an imperialist imposition to allow for trade policies that would benefit multinational corporations and term extension to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her minions in Congress, the militants said.

The protesters vowed more protests to block the proposed constituent assembly.
 

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