Farmers mark World Food Day, Slam BS Aquino

Mendiola and DA


 October 16, 2013




World Hunger Day Peasant Mobilization
FB note by Sarah Raymndo . Updated 27 minutes ago · Taken at Mendiola, Manila

Farmers from Southern Tagalog are holding a 2-day protest mobilization for World Hunger Day and to assert the dismantling of the hacienda system in the country. Peasant leaders also slam government corruption as practiced by the landed elite. Their hold on political power is historically based on the monopoly of land and feudal exploitation. Their interest in the accumulation of profit is bolstered and realized through the seats they occupy in Congress, the Senate, and, undoubtedly, in Malacañang. Bureaucrat Capitalism is how Amado Guerrero labels this social ill.

I have learned to take pride in our fighting class of farmers through the national democratic movement. Ours is a rich history of struggle on account of their labors, brave uprisings, and decisive methods of organizing on a national and international scales. Farmers do not only sow and plant the food that we eat. They labor hard, live decently, and hold fast to a principled struggle against feudal oppression and exploitation, foreign domination and bureaucrat capitalism. It is both humbling and inspiring to understand Philippine history and society through the labors and struggles of farmers, especially at a time when so-called leaders of state institutions and their appendages in different agencies such as the academe, appear despicably and scandalously naked.


Picket rally at Mendiola Bridge on World "Hunger" Day
October 16, 2013
Photos by Sarah Ramundo


Press Release
October 16, 2013
Joseph Canlas, Tagapangulo, AMGL

Farmers slam Aquino gov’t on World “Hunger” Day

Farmers belonging to the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers Alliance in Central Luzon) and Anakpawis Party-list Central Luzon chapter marked the globally-celebrated World Food Day by blaming president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and by declaring it instead as World “Hunger” Day. Farmers protested in front of the Dept. of Agriculture in Quezon city and at Mendiola bridge in Manila. World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945. However, Aquino’s programs such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with “Reforms” (CARPer), Public-Private Partnership (PPP), liberalization of agriculture, mining, land use conversion are direct threats to food security of the country according to the farmer groups.

“The Aquino gov’t, like the past administration, are causing massive and systematic hunger in the country by implementing anti-farmer programs. Conversions of productive agricultural lands are actual danger not just to farmers but also to other sectors as it undermines our food security,” Joseph Canlas, Amgl chairperson and Anakpawis Party-list Central Luzon regional coordinator.

Amgl cited Aquino’s anti-land reform policies on Hacienda Luisita, planning to preserve it as a sugar plantation and converting it to Hacienda Luisita economic zone. The Aquino government and Cojuangco-Aquino family pushed CARPer implementation in Hacienda Luisita that obliges the farm worker beneficiaries (FWBs) to pay amortization and their application vulnerable to cancellations giving back lands to the landlords. The Cojuangco-Aquino family is also opposing the “bungkalan” campaign led by the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) that promotes cultivation of food crops such as rice and vegetables.

“Aquino and the Cojuangco-Aquinos are attempting to preserve the feudal state of Hacienda Luisita, where only sugar are cultivated, farm workers are prohibited to plant other food crops. During the implementation of the stock-distribution option (SDO), farm workers were deeply indebted as they acquire loans even to have rice and vegetables,” Canlas said.

Amgl said that the construction of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) confirmed that Hacienda Luisita is planned to be converted as an eco-zone as indicated by the 1998 land use plan approved by then Tarlac governor Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco.

“The Cojuangco-Aquino family intends to benefit from the lands, even if the farm workers die of poverty and hunger,” Canlas said.

The group said that the implementation of CARP and CARPer has paved the way for cancellations of certificate of land ownership awards (cloa), certification of land transfer (clt) and emancipation patents (ep), ejection of farmers and conversion of prime agricultural lands. Such as the case of Nueva Ecija farmers who are now receiving foreclosure notices issued by the Land Bank and Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR). DAR is also ejecting farmers who cultivated idle lands such as the case of farmers from Bgry. Manggang Marikit, Bagong Barrio and Yuson in Guimba town.

Central Luzon is also a site of massive land use conversion projects such as the Metro-Luzon Urban Beltway (MLUB), eco-zones and mining operations. MLUB includes the SCTEx, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx), Central Luzon Expressway (CLEx) and North Luzon East Expressway (NLEx East). Amgl said that the construction of SCTEx has displaced many farmers cultivating lands near interchanges. Same at present, the case of TPLEx construction, where farmers in five barangays in Tarlac city, are being displaced around the interchange of SCTEx and TPLEx. Farmers in Nueva Ecija are also being ejected by the government to pave the way for the CLEx project. In addition, eco-zones such as Subic, Clark, Bataan export-processing zones, Aurora-Pacific eco-zone (Apeco) have displaced and displacing farmers and converted productive agricultural lands. The latest is the planned Clark Green City located in Capas town, Tarlac, covering 35,000 hectares of land. However, mining operations in Zambales has displaced many Ayta communities and affected crops. These projects are being promoted by Aquino through his PPP program. Amgl and Anakpawis said that the Aquino government is bringing the country into deep poverty and hunger, where land which is the very source of food and livelihood of farmers are being seized by big landlords and businesses.

“Farmers are being displaced and productive agricultural lands are wiped out, thus, our food supply being jeopardized. One hectare of rice land converted clearly means 60 to 100 sacks of palay lost, or 65 sacks of rice,” Canlas said.

“Aquino who came from a rich landlord family, would never in his lifetime, appreciate the importance of food production and agriculture. His family would prefer cultivating sugar instead of rice and vegetables. Also, he would never know how it feels to be hungry,” Canlas said.

Amgl and Anakpawis appeal to the people to struggle for genuine land reform to strengthen our food security. #




16 October 2013
For immediate release

Reference: Rep. Emmi De Jesus 0917.3221203

Dire hunger situation shows need to reboot Aquino's food policy

The death of a four-year old girl crushed in yesterday's stampede and earthquake panic while waiting for the government's anti-poverty doleout led a lawmaker to say that President Aquino's observance of World Food Day is a total mockery that the poor mark this day as World Hunger Day instead.

Gabriela Women's Party Representative Emmi De Jesus marked national anti-poverty programs as a total failure as she highlighted findings that malnutrition still stalks 17 percent of the Philippines' population, according to the 2013 Global Hunger Index report released October 14 by the International Food Policy Research Institute (FPRI). The group ranked the Philippines 28th among 78 countries, falling behind Vietnam, Indonesia, and Mongolia. It noted that while the "hunger index" or GHI of 13.2 went down from 14 in 2005, the drop was insignificant and this still puts the country in the "serious" hunger" classification.

"Nakakalungkot na namatay si Shaiza Mila Petiluna habang naghihintay ang pamilya niya sa karampot na ayuda ng 4Ps o Programang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino," De Jesus said as she lamented that a stampede in Pinamungajan, Cebu killed a four-year old girl and injured twenty others while lining up for 4Ps cash payouts in the midst of the killer earthquake that struck Central Philippines yesterday.

"Sa kabila ng malaking pork na ibinuhos ng gobyerno para sa 4Ps nitong tatlong taon, laganap pa din ang kagutuman sa malaking bilang ng mamamayan. Hinubaran ng Global Hunger Index ang mga balatkayo ng mga papuring ulat ng kasaganaan sa ilalim ng Matuwid na Daan at inclusive growth," De Jesus remarked.

GHI ranks hunger levels among 120 developing countries based on numbers of undernourished adults, children under five who are underweight; and mortality rate of children under five. GHI levels below 5 means the low threat of hunger while above 20 translates to "extremely alarming." The Philippines and 36 other countries with GHI scores between 10 and 19.9 were suffering “serious” hunger levels.

De Jesus said there is a need to reboot the Aquino administration’s decayed food policy. “Only genuine land reform and jobs-creating industrialization can erase hunger permanently, while deceptive programs like 4Ps and Philhealth in the context of pork patronage continue to worsen inequalities and mendicancy, the Gabriela solon added.

Another earthquake-related stampede injured 18 people in another 4Ps distribution assembly in nearby Toledo City. ###

Representative EMMI DE JESUS
Gabriela Women's Party
"Babae, Bata, at Bayan.... Tuloy ang Laban!"


Protest Picket at the Department of Agriculture 
 by AMIHAN and GABRIELA, October 14, 2013
Photos by Jane Balleta 


NEWS RELEASE: October 15, 2013
Reference: Christopher Garcia, spokesperson – AMBALA

“DAR, apologists for Cojuangco-Aquino land grab in Luisita” - AMBALA

DAR ‘working at the pleasure of the President’ to exclude choice TADECO lots from distribution

The Alyansa ng mga Mangggawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) assailed the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for acting as rabid apologists for and over-eager “field facilitators” of renewed landgrabbing efforts by the Cojuangco-Aquinos in Hacienda Luisita.

In a dialogue held yesterday at the DAR’s main office in Quezon City, AMBALA criticized DAR officials for withholding the latest Luisita land survey from the group. “Matagal na naming hinihingi ang survey para makita mismo sa mapa kung alin ang mga lupa na dapat ipamahagi sa amin at kung nasaan ang mga lupang kinakamkam ng TADECO,” said Christopher Garcia, AMBALA spokesperson.

“Working at the pleasure of the President’ means that the DAR has acted in behalf of the President’s family to exclude these choice TADECO lots from distribution to the farm worker beneficiaries (FWBs) in barangays Cutcut, Balete and Mapalacsiao,” said Garcia.

Amidst the DAR’s land title distribution activities in Luisita, the Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), owned by President Aquino’s family, has been issuing eviction notices to farmworkers and has set up security outposts to aggressively stake claim over hundreds of hectares of prime agricultural lots in Hacienda Luisita. TADECO is also behind the illegal arrest and detention of 11 delegates of a fact-finding mission led by Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap last month.

Tarlac Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator Atty. Marvin V. Bernal refused to confirm or deny reports of TADECO’s renewed landgrabbing in 3 barangays of Hacienda Luisita. Pressed by AMBALA to comment on TADECO’s eviction notices and outposts, DAR officials said that they have yet to verify if the tracts of land in question are indeed owned by the said company, and whether or not these are planted to agricultural crops.

Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao, also denied knowledge of the TADECO issue at the meeting yesterday. This despite his earlier pronouncements to media since September that the DAR’s field personnel have already found out that lands referred to in the eviction notices are indeed owned by TADECO and are classified as residential according to tax declarations.

“DAR USec Parungao has shamelessly defended the Cojuangco-Aquino clan and TADECO in his previous media statements – arrogantly justifying TADECO’s claims to tracts of land that are obviously agricultural in nature. Ngayong kaharap na kami, biglang hindi na nila alam ang tungkol sa TADECO, at kukumpirmahin pa raw nila,” said Garcia.

“Ang palusot ng DAR, hindi raw kasama ang mga lupaing ito sa dapat ipamahagi batay sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema,” said Garcia. Even if the SC ruled that the DAR should subject to agrarian reform all agricultural lands held by TADECO, the DAR lawyers dismissed the farmworkers’ plea by saying the action on TADECO “is not dispositive.” Parungao however affirmed that if the land claimed by TADECO is indeed agricultural, the DAR “under ordinary course of business,” will have to place it under land reform coverage. “Ano pa ang hinihintay ng DAR kung ganun?” Garcia asked.

Only 117 lots were listed for distribution in Balete, to displace majority or 583 out of Balete’s total of 700 FWBs. According to DAR, all 500 hectares of a contested “converted area” is located in Balete, while denying knowledge of more than 200 hectares in the same barangay claimed by TADECO. In Mapalacsiao, only 144 lots are to be distributed, also to displace the majority or 671 out of 815 beneficiaries in the barangay. Meanwhile, around 100 hectares of land are being “secured” by TADECO armed guards in Barangay Cutcut.

“It is now very clear that the Cojuangco-Aquino clan is the real beneficiary of the DAR’s sabotage of land reform in Hacienda Luisita,” Garcia ended. ###




Mga magsasaka at residente ng Hacienda Dolores, nagprotesta laban sa pang-aagaw ng lupa at pagpapalayas

Sa pangunguna ng Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (ANMHD), nagmartsa ang mahigit 200 magsasaka at residente ng Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga ngayong Setyembre 16 para kondenahin ang patuloy na pangangamkam ng lupa at pagpapalayas sa kanila ng mga korporasyong Triple L at FL Development Corporation. Ang martsa ay sinundan ng isang protesta-dayalogo ng mga magsasaka at residente sa Munisipyo ng Porac. Kaugnay nito, ang pagkilos ng ANIBAN ay sinuportahan ng Aguman Dareng Maglalautang Capampangan (AMC), Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) at iba’t ibang sektor ng probinsya ng Pampanga.

“Kami ay nagsama-sama at nagmartsa para igiit ang aming karapatan sa lupa. Matibay ang batayan na simula pa noong 1835 hinawan, binungkal at dinebelop na ng aming mga ninuno ang Hacienda Dolores. Kami ay mahigit 300 magsasaka at residente na apektado ng pangangamkam at pagpapalayas, dagdag pa dito ang mga katutubong ayta na nalinlang at napalayas na sa lupain,” ayon kay Antonio L. Tolentino, Tagapangulo ng ANIBAN.

“Nakakagalit dahil simula noong 2004 kasabay ng konstruksyon ng Subic-Clark- Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), inaangkin ng Triple L at FL Development Corporation ang mahigit 700 agrikultural na lupain na matagal nang pinagkukunan ng aming kabuhayan,’’ banggit ni Tolentino.

“Malaking kwestyon sa aming mga magsasaka at residente ang paglalabas ng Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) ng Exemption Order para hindi makober ang nasabing lupain sa ilalim ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) kung saan, nagbigay daan para mabilis na mapatituluhan ng dalawang korporasyon ang nasabing lupain noong 2005. Kaugnay nito, naglabas din ang aming barangay captain ng isang certification na ang nabanggit na lupain ay “walang tenant” at talahiban, “ dagdag ni Tolentino.

Ayon sa mga magsasaka at residente,hinihintay ngayon ng Triple L at FL Development Corporation ang Land Use Conversion Order mula sa DAR kung saan, malaki ang papel ng inilibas na “certification” ng brgy. Captain ng Hacienda Dolores at “Municipal Ordinance for Land Reclassification” ng lokal na ahensya ng pamahalaan ng Porac. Kaugnay nito, kwestyunable din na hindi nagkaroon ng public consultation bago aprubahan ng Sanggunian at Punong Bayan ang ordinance, at hindi sapat ang mga sertipikasyon na nilabas ng DA, DAR, at NIA.



Sa kabila ng paggigiit ng mga magsasaka at residente ng Hacienda Dolores ng kanilang karapatan sa lupa, ginagamitan sila ng dahas para mapaalis sa lugar. Nagdeploy ang mga korporasyon ng mahigit 700 security guards kasama ang goons para takutin, linlangin ang mga magsasaka. Isa sa pinakatampok na insidente noong 2011, binakuran nila ang mga lupain ng magsasaka, pinagsisira ang kanilang mga kubo, punongkahoy, tanim na saging, gulay at sinampahan ang ilan ng grave threat. Noong Hulyo 2013, iligal na inaresto at ikinulong ang isang magsasaka at kinasuhan ng illegal possession of firearms at maliscious mischief.

“Sa ngayon, tuluy-tuloy ang kanilang harassment sa amin. Ang pinakahuling ginawa nila ay pagpapapirma sa amin ng isang kasulatan na “kapag kailangan na ng korporasyon ang lupain, kusang aalis ang mga magsasaka at residente”. Malinaw na ito ay isang pakana para alisan kami ng karapatan sa aming lupain,’’ dagdag ni Tolentino.

Ayon kay Joseph Canlas, Tagapangulo ng AMGL, “Ang nararanasang problema sa lupa ng mga magsasaka at residente ng Hacienda Dolores ay matagal na ding problema ng mga magsasaka sa rehiyon at buong bansa. Ang hindi pagkilala ng gobyerno sa karapatan ng mga magsasaka sa lupa ay isang manipetasyon na tanging interes ng panginoong maylupa, lokal at dayuhang korporasyon lamang ang kanilang pinagsisilbihan”.

“Malinaw na mula pa Kolonyalismong Kastila pa nagsimulang magbungkal ng lupa ang kanilang mga ninuno, pero sa dinami-dami ng batas at programa sa reporma sa lupa, hindi man lang sila naging benepisyaryo nito, at mas malala, sila ngayon ay pinapalayas. Kung kaya, ang mga nagdaang batas at ngayon ay CARP at CARP Extension with Reforms ay isang malaking panlilinlang lamang sa mga magsasaka at pumapabor sa mayayaman,” dagdag ni Canlas.

“Kung kaya’t marapat lang talaga na konsolidahin ng mga magsasaka sa Hacienda Dolores ang kanilang hanay sapagkat hindi pa tapos ang paglaban at paggigiit ng kanilang karapatan sa lupa. Nananawagan kami ng pakikiisa at suporta sa lahat ng sektor mula sa taong simbahan, kabataan at estudyante, abogado, at iba pa,” pagtatapos ni Canlas. #