12 January 2010
Workers support nationwide Lakbayan for land and justice
As the nationwide Lakbayan of farmers kick off today, labor center
Kilusang Mayo Uno and its regional formations vow full support to the
10-day march for land and justice, saying “workers are one with farmers in
pushing for genuine land reform and fighting for justice for all victims
of state terrorism.”
KMU said workers will be joining the Lakbayan contingents from Mindanao
and Northern Luzon at various key points as expression of their solidarity
and support for peasants victimized by massive land-grabbing and military
repression under past and present regimes.
“Those who stand in the way of the struggle for land and justice should be
warned: thousands of workers are uniting with throngs of farmers to
deliver a strong and militant statement against their schemes. The
historic march across the archipelago shall expose their decades-old
monopoly of land in this country,” said KMU chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.
“We, workers, are uniting with peasants because we are well-aware that the
foreign-dominated economy that we have today can only be changed by
pushing for land distribution to farmers to ensure sustainable agriculture
for Filipinos,” he added.
Labog said Lakbayan contingents will also be welcomed by thousands of
workers upon their entry to Metro Manila. The nationwide Lakbayan will be
capped by a long march from the Department of Agrarian Reform to Mendiola
on Jan. 22 in commemoration of the 1987 Mendiola Massacre, wherein 13
protesting farmers were brutally killed by police forces.
“Workers are one with peasants in seeking justice for all slain farmers
who fought for genuine land reform. We are also one with them in fighting
massive land-grabbing, as many of us were displaced from our homes in the
countryside and were forced to resort to low-quality work in cities due to
land conversions and military occupation and harassments,” the labor
Labog said workers are also victims of state-sponsored violence, the most
notable case of which is the brutal dispersal and killing of seven
striking workers in Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.
“At this point in history, workers and farmers have a common enemy – and
that is no other than the anti-farmer, anti-people regime of Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo,” Labog added. #
Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234
13 January 2010
Juan in ‘hungerland’ due to mass joblessness, shrinking agri – KMU
New round of price hikes bodes even higher hunger stat
Double-digit unemployment, stagnant wages and shrinking agricultural
growth pushed hunger to historic levels, making the Philippines a
“hungerland” despite efforts by the Arroyo regime to portray a
“wonderland,” labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said today.
KMU said the recent SWS survey, which showed that one out of four Filipino
families experienced hunger in the previous month, cannot be simply blamed
on the damage wrought by typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng,” as the Arroyo
government failed to create decent jobs and boost agricultural growth at
“How can the Arroyo government expect Filipinos to escape the pangs of
hunger if one out of four Filipinos is either jobless or employed in
low-paying and temporary work? How can food be sufficient if the country’s
agriculture is geared towards producing non-food crops for export while we
rely on rice imports?” said KMU chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.
“It is absurd to say that more Filipinos are hungry because of typhoons.
In reality, Arroyo caused the greatest damage to the livelihood of
Filipinos by facilitating widescale job cuts and being an accomplice to
massive land-grabbing in the coutryside,” he added.
Labog also said minimum wage rates nationwide have been stagnant for
almost two years now even as prices of basic commodities and gasoline have
soared several times, making workers incapable of eating even twice a day.
Meanwhile, farmers are driven away from their source of livelihood as
agricultural lands are being converted into subdivisions and leisure areas
– endeavors that cannot alleviate hunger. This partly explains why growth
of agricultural output has shrunk 1.5 percent in 2009.
Higher hunger stats ahead
KMU also warned that the new round of price hikes in gasoline, rice and
flour forebodes a more dismal hunger data in the coming weeks.
“With the recent hikes in prices of basic commodities, the neoliberal
policies of deregulation, privatization and liberalization once again show
their teeth, eating away at what is left in our pockets.”
“But Gloria Arroyo should be warned: her inaction over recent price hikes
is teaching Filipinos that rising up in revolt is the only way to ease
growling stomachs,” he said.
Reference: Elmer "Bong" Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234
Mindanaoan farmers to march against their
dreadful experience of rights abuses by the Arroyo government
January 12, 2009, Davao City - Leaders of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas
– Southern Mindanao Region (KMP-SMR) geared for their nationwide “Lakbayan
ng Anakpawis para sa Lupa at Katarungan” (Toiling Masses’ March for Land
and Justice) with their announcement of activities, kicked off with the
peasant rally at the Freedom Park of Davao City and torch parade in front
of the Office of House Speaker Prospero Nograles. This is in commemoration
of the 23rd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre that killed 13 peasants
on January 22, 1987 during the Aquino regime.
KMP National Secretary-General, Danilo Ramos accompanied the regional and
provincial leaders and said that the march and nationally-coordinated
protest would be participated by tens of thousands of farmers nationwide.
On January 21, they are expected to converge in front of the office of the
Dept. of Agrarian Reform, coming from the north in Tarlac City and south
from Davao City.
The protest is to drum up the fundamental call of Filipino farmers for
genuine land reform and justice for countless victims of human rights
“There is no justice served for the victims of Mendiola Massacre, worse,
past and present governments continue their fascist attack on peasants
struggling for genuine land reform, a concrete example is the Hacienda
Luisita Massacre on Nov. 16, 2004,” said Ramos.
In addition, KMP-SMR Chair Pedro Arnado that they would join the full-size
protest to put a halt on the systematic militarization on peasant
communities at the region and violations of their basic rights.
“Since 2001 when the Arroyo regime sat in power, 32 peasant leaders and
activists became victims of extra-judicial killings (EJK) as part of its
implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2. Aside from these, more than
30,000 farmers have been subjected to militarization, hamletting, forced
evacuation and other human rights abuses,” said Arnado.
He also mentioned the 32 peasant victims, namely, Roy Laitban, Roberto
Nipa, Olando Renosa, Rolando Bacos, Rosita Icatan, Supronio Enoc, Charles
Bayanban, Edgar Blas, Jaime Daculo, Warlito Bayanban, Mustilio Gabay,
Ricardo Dulay, Henerio Banez, Esther Patiga, Egnacio Ecoy, Alvino Tacadao,
George Antolin, Filimon Quilanti, Boy Navaris, Conrado Canete, Joseph
Saradpan, Domingo Spaklayal, Nolie Lianos, Diego Encarnacion, Rodrigo
Panogan, Sr., Rodrigo Panogan, Jr., Pedro Montoy, William Masibid, Bubit
Budadona, Rasil Tandog, Rodil Andoy and Celso Pojas.
“They have become victims as they continue the peasants’ fight for genuine
land reform,” said Arnado.
“Southern Mindanao has been under massive expansion of banana plantations
owned by foreign and local agro-corporations, using deceptive measures on
small peasants to grab lands. Also, the rich mountains have been targets
of mining applications which peasants totally opposed,” he added.
“Because of these struggles, the government reacts with fascist attacks on
peasants,” Arnado said.
Also, Jimmy Saipan, Chair Compostela Farmers’ Association (CFA) have
shared their systematic experience of militarization and rights abuses.
“On May of 2008, 370 of us were forced to evacuate our farms at Bgy. Ngan,
Nabunturan town of Compostela Valley province and take refuge at the gym
of Bgy. Bangkerohan in Davao City,” said Saipan.
“Elements of the 25th and 65th Infantry Battalion of the Phil. Army, under
the 10th Infantry Division have militarized our farms, thus, no one could
work normally,” he added.
He added that militarization is combined with extra-judicial killings
which victimized peasant leader Celso Pojas of Farmers’ Association of
Davao City (FADC), Danny Qualbar, peasant leader opposing mining
operations, Rebelyn Pitao, teacher and daughter of NPA leader Leonardo
Pitao, Conrador Canete, an elderly and father of another NPA leader. Last
year, the region was again subjected to massive militarization which was
described as “garrison communities,” a nickname for hamletting and forced
Generally, the experience and struggle of farmers from the region is
identical with other regions. Ramos exampled the case of Hacienda Luisita,
where agri-workers have been working on the lands for decades, but the
Cojuangco family has avoided land reform and fabricated non-land transfer
schemes such as the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) of the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Also, House Speaker Prospero Nograles has to answer to Mindanao farmers
when he led the passage of Joint Resolution No. 1 on December of 2008, and
CARP Extension with “Reforms” or CARPer on August last year. Worse, he has
proposed the economic provision of 100% foreign ownership of land,
encapsulated on the Arroyo regime’s efforts for Charter Change (Chacha).
“Rep. Nograles has to answer not just to Mindanaoan farmers but to all
Filipino farmers who are clamoring for genuine land reform,” said Ramos.
“We condemn the revived Chacha efforts of the Arroyo-Nograles clique,
thus, on our nationwide march and nationally-coordinated protests, we are
calling for the passage of law pursuing genuine land reform, junking
CARPer and Chacha. Support us on our struggle,” called Ramos.#
January 12, 2009
Christine Macabetcha (contact # 09291342394 / (049) 576-6795)
BAYAN-ST Deputy Secretary General
Southern Tagalog militants gear-up for nationwide Lakbayan,
Intensified protests to commemorate peasant massacre
Militant groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Southern Tagalog (BAYAN-ST)
and Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK)
are all-hands preparing to conduct the nationwide protest march called
“Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis para sa Lupa at Katarungan”.
The Lakbayan kicked-off today in Davao City and is expected to merge with
the Southern Tagalog marchers on January 17 in Lucena City. The 10-day
epic protest will culminate in January 22 in time with the 23rd
commemorating year of the Mendiola Massacre and calling for the
long-deprived justice of the farmer victims.
In 1987, farmer protesters were brutally murdered by Malacañang security
at Mendiola bridge while decrying the rampant landlessness during Corazon
Aquino’s regime. According to Imelda Lacandazo KASAMA-TK Spokesperson, 23
years later, farmers continue to experience these kinds of state
“The basic problem of farmers on agrarian reform is still neglected by the
government with as low as 19 to 21 percent being left from their produce
because of high land rent. Under the Arroyo dictatorship, land-grabbing
has even been legitimized with the enactment of the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Bill with Extension and Reforms,” Lacandazo stressed.
Southern Tagalog marchers, considered as “Lakbayan veterans” greet the
Arroyo government with a bash of strong protests early this new year. At
least 1,500 delegates from Southern Tagalog will march the streets to
reach the National Capital Region, enduring the heat of the sun, drench of
the rain or even overcome blockades by police and military forces.
Less than a week before the Vizayas and Mindanao marchers will set foot to
Southern Tagalog soil, build-up activities are already raring to go. On
the list of activities include the filing of Human Rights Violations to
the Commission on Human Rights due to the surging number of victims of
areas where Civil Military Operations and Urban Militarization projects
“All sectors of Southern Tagalog are united with the peasants’ struggle as
Arroyo’s grand plans such as the CALABARZON project and the R1 Coastal
Road extension has not only tormented the farmers but also fisher folk,
workers and urban poor communities,” Christine Macabetcha BAYAN-ST Deputy
Secretary General said.
The R1 Coastal Road extension in Cavite is estimated to displace at least
100,000 families of the province depriving the residents from their homes
and source of livelihood. Local protest centers and camp-outs will also be
set-up in at least 10 key areas in the provinces of Southern Tagalog which
will include a protest camp to be situated in front of the Department of
Agrarian Reform on January 18.
“This regime shall expect more intensified protest until the end of its
term and will serve as a warning and prelude to the people’s anger because
of the upcoming dirty elections,” Macabetcha ended.#
For inquiries contact Roge @ 09272421508 or Alpha @ 09291342394 /
January 7, 2009
Reference: Lito Bais, Spokesperson, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
Acting Chairperson, United Luisita Workers Union [ULWU]
Foreclosre of the 170 hectares Luisita land by Rizal Commercial Banking
Corporation, a covert ops of the Cojuangco family to regain hold of
According to Lito Bais, spokesperson of the militant Unyon ng mga
Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and acting chairperson of the United Luisita
Workers Union said that "Hacienda Luisita farmers will file contempt
charges against Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation and Luisita Estate
Management [LEM] for violating the Temporary Restraining Order issued by
the Supreme Court by foreclosing a hefty 170 hectares of Luisita land.
This move of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation is an outright and
blatant violation of a status quo between the Luisita management and the
farmers saying that no action should be taken regarding the used or
selling of the former sugar state as long as legal issues are not been
The acting ULWU chair added that "Luisita Estate Management had no legal
and moral rights to dip into the issue because they are not one of the
party involved. LEM should stay away from our issue, we think that this
shadow management created by no other less by the Cojuangco family to
brought confusion among Luisita farmers and to sabotage our legitimate
fight which is the distribution of land to bonafide farm workers.
September last year when RCBC started putting up fences on the 170
hectares located in Baranggay Balete. The RCBC representative said that
this farm lot had been foreclosed as payment for the Cojuangco's debt. At
first they hired the farmers to put fences not saying its real purpose,
then we learned later that RCBC has already owned the land we planned to
"We think that this move of RCBC is in cohoot with the LEM's attempt of
persuading Luisita farmers to engage in an non antagonistic tactic
creating a covincing environment that the Cojuangco's will not going
reclaim the land to them. But this is the same LEM that issued a memo
dating December 2008 which is threatening Luisita farm workers to vacate
the lands that they cultivated after the infamous Hacienda Luisita
massacre. It seems that they changed tactics knowing that the Luisita
farmers will not be cowed over their memo.. In fact right after RCBC put
up the fence, LEM release a statement through "Balitaan sa Luisita", the
management publication bannering series of dialogues between them and the
farm beneficiaries in different baranggays whereas the farmers are
agreeing on land use program' Bais said
He also said that `If we traced back the satements of presidential wannabe
NoyNoy Aquino, their family are having a hard time coping on Luisita's
expenses that is why they're considering the selling of the former sugar
land state. On our part, as "co-owner" we think on what NoyNoy, the LEM
creation and RCBC move is part of a grand dubious scheme design to reclaim
the lands that we painstakingly fought with our sweat and blood. We also
received a report that Hacienda Luisita Incorporated will be dissolved in
liue to the creation of the LEM. According to Atty. Jobert Pahilga, one of
our people's lawyer from SENTRA, In order to legalized LEM, the
Cojuangco's will also seek the approval of the Department of Agrarian
Reform. And if HLI will be dissolved, Stock Distribution Option will be
implemented no more. Thus automatic distribution of the whats is left to
be distributed in accordance with Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program's
"The farm workers turned farmers of Hacienda Luisita are determined to
fight for land and justice. We will not be hindered by this illegal and
immoral impedements. We call on the Supreme Court to act on this renewed
attack on our legitimate rights. We see the hands of he Cojuangco family
operating behind the unjust and crystal clear violation of Luisita Estate
Management and RCBC to reclaim the land that is due to us in the first
place. And also urge our justice clinging justices of Supreme Court to
lift the Temporary Restraining Order so that social justice will finally
be realized in favor of the Luisita farmers". Bais ended
12 January 2010
Reference: Gary Martinez, Chairperson, 09393914418
OFWs in solidarity with farmers in historic nationwide caravan for land
Migrante International, representing Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in
various countries, today expressed solidarity with the first-ever
nationwide farmers caravan for land and justice, which kicked off today in
Davao and Cagayan de Oro City, and is expected to culminate with thousands
of farmers marching to Mendiola on January 22.
“We hail our farmers for their resolve to travel all the way from remote
provinces in order to register their call for genuine land reform, which
the Arroyo government has left unheeded. OFWs, majority of whom come from
poor agricultural provinces, know what it means to be landless.
Landlessness is one of the root causes of migration, and thus Migrante
supports this historic protest action,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante
Migrante, currently campaigning for the repatriation of more than 300
stranded OFWs, said that the misery faced by Filipino victims of human
rights abuses abroad can be traced to the lack of opportunities in the
country brought about by landlessness and lack of national industrial
“For instance, some of the 88 OFWs in Riyadh currently on a hunger strike
come from poor farmer families. It is most tragic when OFWs escape hunger
here in the Philippines, only to be faced with hunger abroad because of
government neglect and indifference to their welfare,” said Martinez.
Migrante International will join several groups that will welcome the
farmers when they arrive in Metro Manila on January 19. The group will
also mobilize for the march to Mendiola on January 22, the 23rd
anniversary of the Mendiola massacre.
“Farmers, just like OFWs, are heroes, struggling to survive and fight
amidst poverty brought about by the government’s neo-liberal policies that
serve to benefit big landlords and employers first. They serve as an
inspiration to OFWs all over the world,” Martinez added.###
#10 Banuyo St.Brgy.Amihan, Project 3, Quezon