LAKBAYAN - Peasants' March for Land and Justice
Nueva Ecija to Mendiola

June 25     ■ June 26      ■ June 27    ■ June 28     ■ June 29    ■ June 30






Photos courtesy of Reggi Mamangun/Kodao Productions
and KMP as indicated by the filenames


June 27, 2014
Joseph Canlas, Chair, AMGL, 0918-233-5050

Absence of genuine land reform keeps CL farmers exploited, groups said

Farmers from the regional group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers Alliance in Central Luzon) and multi-sectoral groups under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Central Luzon (Bayan, New Patriotic Alliance) asserted that absence of genuine land reform in the region kept the farming sector victims of various forms of feudal and semi-feudal forms of exploitation. The groups said that as poor farmers own no land, remain tenants and farm workers, big landlords and traders are able to dictate farm gate prices of agricultural products, usurious rates on loans, overpricing of inputs and other related schemes. They added that the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and liberalization of agricultural sector are lethal combination not just to the economic state of the region’s farmers, as well as to the its capacity to produce food and other raw materials the local industries require.

Thousands of farmers and other sectors under Amgl and Bayan are major participants on the on-going seven-day march from Angeles city towards Metro Manila dubbed as “Lakbayan ng Mamamayan para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo, Pambansang Industriyalisasyon at Laban sa CARP,” since June 25.

“Poor farmers are usual victims of underpricing of farm goods, usury, overpricing of inputs and other exploitative means that keep us into deep poverty and hunger, while the rich and big landlords and traders rake off millions of pesos of profits from our sweat and blood,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.

Amgl said that farmers are still victims of feudal land rent that amount from ten to thirteen percent (10-13%) of the gross harvested palay in Bulacan and Tarlac province, about five (5%) percent in Pampanga, while it reaches to fifty to seventy (50-70) percent of harvested onion in Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan. In addition, usury has become a norm in the countryside of the region, a P1,000-loan for a three-month period is tagged with: in Tarlac, seventy-five (75%) percent interest or an equivalent cavan of palay valued at P750 (P15/kg of palay); in Pampanga, fifty to sixty (50-60%) or a P500-loan is paid with a cavan of palay valued at P750 to 800 (P15 to 16/kg of palay); in Nueva Ecija, eighty (80%) percent or a cavan of palay valued at P800, while Land Bank charges twenty-five to thirty (25-30%) percent per year, Alay sa Kaunlaran at three (3%) per month, an invidual lenders may charge up to eighty (80%) percent.

“Thus, farmers claim that these landlords, traders and lenders who chould shell out P1 million as loans form poor farmers, they could earn as much as P750,000 in just three months! While P10 million could reward them with P7.5 million in profits from usurious interest rates. This rate of profit outclasses any business schemes in the urban centers,” Canlas said.
The groups said that feudal rent and usury are major forms of non-productive farming costs as they do not input any to the gross value added of agricultural products, but remain as a pull-down factor to the economic well-being of farmers.

Amgl said that even the wage-system in the countryside is semi-feudal and far from being capitalist as it is based on the volume harvested by the farm worker and not by the time he or she did the work on the land. In the region, the rate of pay for the farm worker vary from P80 to P250 in different provinces. In Nueva Ecija, pakyawan (wholesale) scheme for planting rice amount to P2,200 or an estimated P146 per day for a 15-farm worker team, while harvesting palay is rated at one one for every fifteen cavan (1 of 16) or 6.25%; in Pampanga, planting is at P250 per day or P2,500 for pakyawan or an estimated P166 for a 15-farm worker team, while harvesting ranges from 7 to 12% (7 to 12 for each 100 cavans); in Tarlac, pakyawan is at P3,000 or about P200 for a 15-farm worker team, while harvesting is at 7.69% (1 of 13). In Tarlac sugar lands, planting cane ranges from P145 to P170 per hectare, while harvesting ranges from P145 to P185 per metric ton of harvested sugar cane. In Nueva Ecija onion farms, farm work that usually extends to ten hours is rated from P130 to P150, while harvesting is at P20 per red bag (30kg). In Pangasinan, work on onion farms range from P120 to P200. In Pampanga, work on corn farms is rated P200 per day, while pakyawan harvesting is at P3,500 or about P233 for a 15-farm worker team.

“The hardships faced by the poor farmers in the region is not isolated but actually an engine of social inequality and unrest. The Aquino government, nor any regime has acted positively on this issue to uplift the farmers from unimaginable and inhumane poverty. CARP, and especially liberalization of agriculture such as the country’s entry to the World Trade Organization are main culprits of this social system,” Roman Polintan said, Bayan-CL chairperson.

Amgl and Bayan asserted that fundamental reforms and emancipation of poor farmers are only possible through national and democratic principles such as the implementation of genuine land reform vis-à-vis free land distribution, paralleled by a program for nationalist industrialization. The groups declared that the twenty-six-year implementation of CARP has been proven by farmers as fruitless and wasted, thus, they demand the immediate repeal and once-and-for-all natural death of the law. #


June 25 - Cabanatuan City to Gapan, Nueva Ecija

Misa ng pakikiisa sa pangunguna ni Fr. Francis Mary de Guzman, San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral, Cabanatuan City.
Mga magsasaka nagtipuntipon mula sa Aurora, Nueva Vizcaya, Caranglan, Guimba, Cabanatuan, San Jose at Sta Rosa
Binendisyunan at pinabaunan ng biscuit ang mga magsasaka bago nagsimulang magmartsa mula sa Cabanatuan City patungong Gapan, Nueva Ecija.
-- KODAO Productions



June 29, 2014
Joseph Canlas, Chair, AMGL, 0918-233-5050

No revival but natural death to CARP, CL farmers demand

Farmers from the regional group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers Alliance in Central Luzon) and multi-sectoral groups under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Central Luzon (Bayan, New Patriotic Alliance) proclaimed that the implementation of the Republic Act 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and Republic Act 9700 or CARP Extension with “Reforms” (CARPer) is not just a gigantic historical failure but a man-made catastrophe to the farming sector of the region, that deserve no legislated “resuscitation” or revival but a natural death and an unmarked grave.
“If CARP has exhibited any positive trait for poor farmers in 20 years, big issues such as Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Dolores, APECO and other agrarian disputes should have not driven farmers and farm workers to camp out, picket lines and long marches,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.

Amgl said that CARP has been instrumental for the Cojuangco-Aquino family to cover the 6,456-hectare Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac with stock distribution option (sdo) in 1989. CARP’s chapter 8 for corporate farms served as a loop-hole for the Cojuangco-Aquino family to escape land transfer and schemed to portray the 5,539 farm worker beneficiaries (FWBs) as stockholders of the Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI). HLI preserved the powers of the Cojuangco-Aquino family as they controlled its board of directors, implement business decision ranging to mass retrenchment as it did to the officers and members of the United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU) in 2004.

As FWBs were laid off, their rights as beneficiaries were also terminated as the stocks allocated for them were only redeemable if they work on the sugar estate counted as man-days. The Cojuangco-Aquino family had control on the allocation of guaranteed man-days that was dwindling down as they convert thousands of hectares. Agricultural lands shrunk to 4,915-hectares in 2004 as large parcels were converted. Generally, CARP gave the Cojuangco-Aquino family the power to dispose of the lands, which were the capital counterpart that essentially belonged to the FWBs.

“CARP and sdo made the farm workers to take home a pay of P9.50 in 2004, hence, there was no debate that it was a big failure,” Canlas said.

The groups added that CARP claimed that Nueva Ecija compose 36% of the total number of farmer-beneficiaries in the region or about 95,855 FBs. DAR recorded that covered lands 169,375-hectares thus averaging the farmsize to 1.77-hectares per FB. The CARP working scope for the province reach to 179,366-hectares hence the program boast of 94% accomplishment. Ironically, substantial tracts of lands that composed different haciendas remained intact and evaded land distribution such as: Hacienda Gabaldon, Kilantang, Anggara in Guimba town, Hacienda Rueda in Quezon town, De Santos in Guimba, Cuyapo and Nampicuan towns, Hacienda Tinio in Talavera town, and estates Ilagan, Gonzales, Domingo, Sanggalang, Joson, Angeles, Padre Crisostomo.

The groups added that FBs are facing cancellation of certificate of land ownership awards (cloa), certificate of land transfer (clt), emancipation patents (ep) and foreclosure cases such as in 238.34-hectare Hacienda Rueda in Brgy. San Andres I, Quezon town; CARP covered 455.33-hectares in Brgy. Pulang Bahay, Quezon town; CARP-PD 27 covered 412-hectares in Brgy. Bicos, Rizal; 569.40-hectare Hacienda De Santos in Brgy. Cacapasan, Cuyapo; compose the 822-hectares covered by CARP-PD 27 in Brgy. Pacac, Guimba, Hacienda Gabaldon, Hacienda Kilantang and Hacienda Anggara; farmers are facing land cases usually ejectment cases filed by landowners in Sta. Rosa, Jaen, Cabanatuan City, San lsidro and other southern Nueva Ecija towns.

Adding up to the already muddled implementation of CARP is the Hacienda Dolores agrarian dispute in Porac town, Pampanga. The 2,000-hectare hacienda is farm and homes to about 5,000 farmers and residents and their ancestors have been cultivating the land since Spanish colonial times in 1835. But in 2004, coinciding the construction of SCTEX, private corporations Leonardo-Lachenal-Leonio Holdings (LLL) and FL Property Management Corp. (FL) have been claiming the lands and in 2011, violently fenced and displaced farmers. The firms are partners of Ayala Land, Inc. for their 1,000-hectare Alviera project, an eco-residential, commercial, tourist and light industrial estate similar to Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The private corporations utilized CARP’s provisions as the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued exemption and conversion orders in 2005. Evidently, CARP disregarded the historical and moral rights of local farmers to the land, instead allowed big corporations to take control of vast lands. Since 2011, farmers were usual victims of harassment and violent attacks such as the killing of Arman Padiño and Melenao Barcia.

“CARP failed the Hacienda Dolores farmers. DAR is even helpless as the case was immediately taken over the Aquino’s office and we know that Ayala was a major contributor to his presidential campaign and we condemn the political pay-back,” Canlas said.

To demonstrate the weakness of CARP, the groups cited the Republic Act 10083 or the Aurora Pacific Economic and Freeport Zone (APECO) that covered a wholesale 13,000-hectares in Casiguran town in Aurora province. CARP has not guaranteed the rights of farmers in lowland rice granary, more the rights of the fisherfolk and indigenous peoples in different parts of the area which are not covered by the program. The groups said that APECO has violated the socio-economic rights of the farmers in five barangays and threatens their livelihood and homes.

“APECO is only to serve the Angara family, for them to take control of the vast lands, as they did to many parts of the province. Clearly, CARP is a useless pile of paper, easily overridden by laws such as APECO,” Canlas said.

Generally, Amgl and Bayan affirmed that CARP is an instrument of deception, to sow an illusion of reform which in reality is serve the interests of big landlords, compradors and foreign monopoly capital. CARP preserves landlessness that serve as the social base of imperialist dictates such as of the World Bank for its neo-liberal policies and World Trade Organization (WTO) for ample supply of cheap agricultural raw materials for use of resource-hungry economies of capitalist countries such as the United States.

CARP and the absence of genuine land reform and nationalist industrialization restrain the national economy to develop, for agriculture and industry to harmoniously relate, coinciding the upliftment of socio-economic well-being of the population. In addition, products and value generated in the country must be redirected to the local economy as source of capital, technology development and social services, which fundamentally require the authentic national sovereignty and freedom from foreign control. Thus, the groups asserted that the issue of landlessness, concretely affects the interests of different sectors such as the middle class and local businesses and it is only prudent for them to carry out support for peasant and basic sectors struggles. #


▲Marchers padlocked the DAR office at Cabanatuan City ▼


CL farmers slam Aquino in pushing bill to extend Carper

Farmers belonging to the regional farmers group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) slammed president Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino (BS Aquino) for his marching order to both legislative chamber certifying House Bill 4296 as urgent. The bill proposed extending the implementation of the Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) beyond its supposed expiration on June 30 this year and additional budget for its land acquisition and distribution (Lad) provision.

“The farmers in Central Luzon are not ignorant of the ill-effects of Carp and actually demanding its immediate death on or before June 30. Carp is an illusion, not even an agrarian reform program, but a milking cow of corrupt government officials and big landlords. We demand the immediate junking and shredding of House Bill 4296 as well as RA 6576,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.

Amgl said that it is historically evident that Carp salvaged the interests of big landlords such as the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Tarlac, Nueva Ecija hacienderos, landlords in different provinces and rich and powerful corporations.

“Aquino’s family retained control in Hacienda Luisita using Carp and its stock distribution option provision in 1989, that resulted the unimaginable poverty and misery of the farm workers, on the other hand, thousands of hectares were converted such as the Luisita mall, industrial park, golf course and more,” Canlas said.

In addition, farmer beneficiaries who are holding certificate of land ownership awards (cloa), certificate of land transfer (clt) and emancipation patents (ep) in Nueva Ecija are actually receiving cancellation notices and foreclosure notices from the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Land Bank. In 2011, DAR reported that there are 95,855 farmer-beneficiaries in Nueva Ecija for 169,375-hectares.

“DAR reported of big accomplishment in Nueva Ecija but the farmers are plagued with cancellation and displacement issues,” Canlas said.

Amgl also asserted that Carp was instrumental in displacing farmers from their lands in Hacienda Dolores in Porac town, Pampanga. The 2,000-hectare hacienda is now being converted by Ayala Land as Alviera, a eco-residential and commercial estate similar to Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

“DAR issued exemption and conversion orders for Hacienda Dolores lands, thus, private corporations wreak havoc, violently displaced farmers and destroyed their crops. Carp is the main instrument used by Ayala Land’s dummy corporations to snatch lands from the farmers,” Canlas said.

Since 2011, farmers from Hacienda Dolores were systematically harassed, imprisoned and killed as Ayala Land’s partner corporations deployed hundreds of security guards, backed up by armed goons. Early this year, farmers attempting to work on their lands were fired upon, killing one and last May 2, a farmer leader was killed and his wife wounded.

“Violent repression of farmers are inherent to Carp as it actually serve the interests of big landlords and corporations and not the poor farmers,” Canlas said.

Amgl said that Carp is far from being an agrarian reform program, thus, should be immediately repealed and replaced. The group challenged the lawmakers to junk House Bill 4296.

“Amidst the country’s problems such as the multi-billion peso corruption through pork barrel, the multi-billion peso Carp should be laid to rest. Lawmakers for once should prioritize the interest of the poor farmers,”

Amgl claimed that Carp is just an illusionary policy of a government dominated by the landlord class and neglecting the fundamental interest of poor farmers to genuine land reform. The group advocated a national democratic principle of realizing genuine land reform as opposed to Carp. Agrarian reform, as a reform program essentially should be free land distribution and not a real estate transaction obliging farmers of amortization.

“Carp simply meant that farmers who actually developed lands for decades or even centuries with their ancestors, should be charged again with amortizing the landlord who enjoyed the exploitative land rent sourced from the latter’s very sweat and blood,” Canlas said. #




June 26, 2014

CARPER ibasura! Tunay na reporma sa lupa, ipaglaban!

Mahigit tatlong dekada simula nang ipatupad ang Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) nananatiling mahirap at walang lupa ang mga magsasakang Pilipino. Noong 2009, inextend pa ang CARP sa ilalim ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extensions and Reforms (CARPER). Sa June 30, nakatakdang magtapos ang CARPER. Itinutulak ngayon ni Aquino at mga kaalyado nito na muli pang palawigin ang huwad na reporma sa lupa.

Sa panukala ng mga kaalyado ng rehimen, popondohan na naman ng dagdag P150 bilyon ang programa na gagatasan ni Aquino para sa eleksyong 2016. Kung tutuusin, lagpas P300 bilyon na ang nagasta sa CARP mula noong 1972 na dinala sa kurakot at ibinayad pa nga sa mga panginoong maylupa.

Sa halip na magbigay ng lupa sa mga magsasaka, lalo pa nga nitong pinatindi ang konsentrasyon ng lupain sa kamay ng iilan. Sa kasalukuyan, nasa kamay pa rin ng iilang mga pamilya ang lagpas 1/5 ng lupang agrikultural sa bansa. Halimbawa si Danding Cojuangco Jr, na may 30,000 ektarya sa Negros, Isabela, Cagayan, Davao del Sur, Palawan at Cotabato; ang pamilya Cojuangco, Dy at Enrile na naghahati ng 13,085 ektarya sa Isabela; ang Zobel-Ayala na may 12,000 ektarya sa Calatagan, Batangas at Floriendo na may 11,048 sa Davao at Davao del Norte.

Samu’t sari ang mga pamamaraan para ieksempt ang mga lupain mula sa pamamahagi sa pamamagitan ng reklasipikasyon at kumbersyon ng lupa. Matatandaang mula sa orihinal na target na 10.3 milyong ektarya noong 1988 o 85% ng kabuuang lupaing agrikultural at isang ikatlo ng kabuuang lawak ng bansa ay tinapyasan ito ng 22% o 8.1 milyong ektarya na lamang dahil na rin sa malawakang pagbabawas ng mga lupaing pribado at publiko sa sakop ng CARP. Sa kasalukuyan, aaabot sa 60% ng mga Certificate of Land Acquisition and Ownership o CLOA ang nakansela o binawi.

Iniikutan din ng mga panginoong may lupa ang direktang pamamahagi ng lupa gaya ng Voluntary Land Transfer (VLT) kung may saan samu’t saring arrangement gaya ng “joint ownership” katulad ng stock distribution option na dehado ang mga magsasaka. Samu’t sari rin ang mga pamamaraan ng paniniil sa mga magsasaka at paninigil sa kanila hanggang sa mapilitan na silang ibenta muli ang lupa sa mga landlord.

Wala ng pinakamainam na halimbawa ng bogus na land reform kundi ang Hacienda Luisita. Bukod sa hindi pa rin nabibigay ang lupa sa mga magsasaka, sobra-sobra ang ibinayad sa mga Cojuangco para sa isang bahagi nito na aabot sa P471 milyon sa halip na P304 milyon lamang. Sa ganitong paraan, ginagatasan pa ng landlords at mga burukrata kapitalista ang CARP.

Sa 26 taon na ipinatupad ito ay pinatunayan ng CARPER, wala itong ibang silbi kung hindi linlangin ang mga magbubukid, pagkakwartahan ang kanilang karalitaan at kawalan ng lupa at maglatag ng ligal na balangkas upang mabawi ng mga asyendero ang lupa. Dahil sa kawalan ng lupa ng malawak na bilang ng magsasaka , nananatiling atrasadong ang agrikultura sa bansa, at walang tungtungan para sa pambansang industriyalisayon na para tunay na maging malaya at makatayo ito ng sarili ang bayan.

Nanawagan ang Anakbayan na isulong ang tunay na repormang agraryo sa pagsasabatas ng Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) at sa mga pakikibaka ng magsasaka at mamamayan para ibagsak ang paghahari ng mga panginoong maylupa, ipamahagi ng libre ang lupa at suportahan ang mga magsasaka. Dapat tapusin ang paghahari ng mga panginoong maylupa at ibagsak ang asenderong rehimeng US-BS Aquino.

Nasa mga magsasaka at mamamayan ang lahat ng dahilan para lumaban at mag-aklas laban sa bulok na sistema, ipanawagan ang lupa, hustisya at pagbabago. ###

Reference: Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan National Chairperson, @venzie 09328618369

June 26 -  Gapan, Nueva Ecija to Baliwag/Malolos, Bulacan


Source Verification:
Gi Estrada
UMA Media Officer

DAR employing police, Cojuangco dummies to protect illicit aryendo system in Hacienda Luisita

Tension in Hacienda Luisita continues to rise with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)’s active use of Cojuangco representatives and local police to impose what farmers call “sham land distribution” in the controversial sugar estate.

For several weeks now, personnel from the DAR’s Tarlac Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO) and known Cojuangco dummies such as former HLI supervisor-turned- Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organization head Arsenio Valentino -- have been warning farmers to vacate parcels of agricultural land devoted to the bungkalan or land cultivation program, initiated by farm workers since 2005.

During the bungkalan’s peak, around 2,000 hectares out of the 6,453-hectare sugarcane plantation were transformed into ricefields and food crop plots.

The DAR, however, callously undermined the farmworkers’ bungkalan through its dubious land survey, the tambiolo raffle draw lot allocation process and the belated issuance of land reform coverage notices for hundreds of hectares of agricultural land in Hacienda Luisita -- resulting to the disenfranchisement and dislocation of hundreds of farmers who have positioned themselves in bungkalan areas particularly in barangays Balete, Cutcut, Mapalacsiao, Bantog and Asturias.

“The DAR is deliberately sowing confusion and dispute among the ranks of Luisita farmers and residents via sham land distribution. Bahagi ito ng patuloy na panloloko, pandarahas at pangangamkam ng pamilya Cojuangco-Aquino sa Hacienda Luisita,” said Florida Sibayan, chairperson of the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA).

Today, DAR personnel, escorted by around 12 elements of the Tarlac City police, threatened Mapalacsiao farmers with eviction to supposedly install legitimate farmworker-beneficiaries (FWBs) from another barangay, Lourdes, awarded lots by the DAR in the same areas devoted to the bungkalan in Barangay Mapalacsiao. The lots in question, however are already covered by the exploitative aryendo or lease system brokered by Cojuangco financier-agents. Under the aryendo, FWBs are paid a measly 7,000 a year for the lease of the 6,600 sq. meter lot awarded by the DAR.

“The DAR is only posturing that it wants to install legitimate beneficiaries, but it only seeks to evict farmers engaged in palay and vegetable production to make way for the Cojuangcos’ sugarcane aryendo,” said Sibayan. Through the aryendo, farmlots are reconcentrated back to Cojuangco-Aquino control even before actual physical land distribution can occur.

In Barangay Mapalacsiao alone, ex-LTO Chief Virginia Torres, a known ally and “Kabarilan” of President BS Aquino, has covered around 200 hectares for sugarcane, victimizing hundreds of FWBs through the aryendo system. Arsenio Valentino, meanwhile, has control of hundreds of hectares of DAR-allocated lots in Barangays Bantog and Asturias.

“The DAR only seeks to discredit the hard toil of farmworkers engaged in bungkalan, and ultimately protect the illicit aryendo system,” said Sibayan.

Since yesterday, AMBALA has joined thousands of victims of the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in Central Luzon as they troop to Manila for a week-long peasant Lakbayan.




Source Verification:
Gi Estrada
UMA Media Officer

DAR promoting illicit & exploitative Aryendo System in Hacienda Luisita

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) should be held accountable for the prevalence of the illicit and exploitative aryendo (leasehold) system in Hacienda Luisita.

One main reason why the aryendo system is prevalent in the Hacienda is because the DAR never recognized the “bungkalan” of the farm workers which started during the strike in 2005 when the operations of the Hacienda including the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) were paralyzed.

To support and sustain themselves during the strike, farm workers led by AMBALA defied the mono-cash crop production of sugarcane – occupied the lands and planted food crops such as palay and vegetables. The land cultivation initiative reached a peak of around 2,000 hectares planted to food crops in 2005.

The Cojuangco-Aquino family quickly made steps to sabotage the farmers’ land cultivation and established the Luisita Estate Management (LEM) group of financier-dummies or “yellow agents” to either assert the Cojuangco’s claim over agricultural land or broker lease agreements with farmers.

Without any government support for farmers engaged in food crop production, farmers became victims of usurers and unscrupulous traders. A few bad harvests and coercion by the “yellow agents” compelled most farmers to fall for the grossly unfair tag of Php 2,000 to 7,000 for a year’s rental of their productive farmlots. Cojuangco agents offered to lease or rent lands through the assistance of local barangay officials. Large tracts of lands that had been occupied by the farm workers were replanted to sugar cane.

Against all odds, hundreds of members of AMBALA continued to engage in food crop production. In recent years, AMBALA has established pilot farms and ventured into organic farming practices to minimize production costs and further enhance unity and cooperation among tillers.

When the DAR commenced land distribution activities in 2013 as per the 2012 Supreme Court decision, Cojuangco dummies became more aggressive in offering illicit lease agreements, now focusing on legitimate FWBs.

The Cojuangco’s coup de grace in instituting the aryendo system in the Hacienda was delivered by the DAR when it distributed Lot Allocation Certificates (LAC) from July 18- August 21, 2013 through raffle draws whose results were already pre-determined and designed to justify the Cojuangco-Aquino’s claim to more than a thousand hectares of agricultural land mysteriously excluded by the DAR from land distribution.

More than a hundred hectares of these were bungkalan areas in barangays Balete and Cutcut which were bulldozed by Cojuangco goons with the aid of the military and the police even if the DAR belatedly issued out a Notice of Coverage (NOC) on said lands. DAR though later said such acts were legal as these lands are still the property of the Cojuangcos.

Also all the allocated lands that were already under the “bungkalan” were given to other farm worker beneficiaries (FWB’s) either from the same or outside the barangay. This now causes conflict among the FWB’s especially if the said lands have been leased to aryendadors like what is prevailing right now.

DAR’s complicity in these is very clear. It even runs counter to its own document it forced upon the FWB’s to sign which explicitly stated that those awarded lands should make it as productive as possible. Those that have already been cultivating it through their bungkalan have already been doing this since 2005.

Block farming which the DAR is introducing among the FWB’s will also entrench the aryendo system and reconcentrate lands back to the landlords. In fact a known Cojuangco-Aquino sugar supervisor, Arsenio Valentino under the Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI ) is now head of one of the DAR’s so-called ARBO or beneficiaries’ organization for block farming. Valentino is another pillar of the Cojuangco’s aryendo system in Luisita along with Presidential “Kabarilan” and ex-LTO Chief farmiVirgie Torres and Rep. Noel Villanueva.




News Release

June 28, 2014

Manila, Philippines – Militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas questioned Aquino administration why Agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala has the highest paid cabinet member. According to the 2013 report of salaries and allowances by Commission on Audit last Thursday, Alcala got the salary of P4, 217,650 in 2013.

Pamalakaya said that despite of peasant sector remains the poorest sector, endless price increases of agricultural products, and being backward of agriculture in the country, Agriculture secretary is earning large amount of money coming from the taxpayers. “While Alcala is earning seven digits annually including cash incentives and bonuses, farmers and Filipino people on the other hand got expensive garlic and shortages of basic food commodities.” Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France said in a statement.

Pamalakaya official said there’s no improvement and modernization on agriculture under Secretary Alcala but only worsen the condition of the backward agriculture and farming in the country. Many farmers did not feel the presence of Department of Agriculture in their areas. “Secretary Alcala has not done anything so far to improve the farming condition in the country yet he is earning that big.” France added.

Greediness to the highest level

Pamalakaya official also questioned why Alcala is still on the position despite on his involvement on the P10-billion pork barrel scam and still, no charges has yet filed against him. Pamalakaya official said Alcala should be facing plunder charges by now but because it’s a protocol in the Aquino administration that all of his allies and Kamag-anak, Kaklase, Kabarilan (KKK), even proven guilty, will always remain innocent.

“He should be in jail right now, he stole millions from hardworking Filipinos yet Aquino administration maintains him in his position earning millions of pesos a year.” France ended. ###

For reference: Salvador France (09489964477), PAMALAKAYA PILIPINAS Vice Chairperson



June 29, 2014
For Reference: Ms. France Castro, Secretary – General, 09204166441

Teachers in solidarity with peasants’ march for genuine land reform

Quezon City, Philippines – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers joins the ranks of peasants in the Philippines in calling for genuine land reform and for junking of the pro-landlord, deceptive and fake land reform.

“For twenty-seven years already since the Philippine government implemented the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program to solve the problem of landlessness in the country. Almost three decades have passed already and yet we can still see the massive landlessness in the country. Our farmers who till the land in order to provide us food to eat continue to suffer from poverty despite the millions of public funds already spent for this. By nature, the current land reform system in the country is defective and is only used by big landlords like PNoy’s (Cojuanco and Aquino) family, to escape from distributing the land to the tillers,” said Ms. France Castro, Alliance of Concerned Teachers Secretary-General.


CARP or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program is the major program of the late former president Corazon Aquino, the mother of the current president, started in 1987 and is extended last 2010 for another three years making it CARPER (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reforms). Currently, a bill is also filed in the lower house seeking for its re-extension.

“We have proven already that the CARP/CARPER program is nothing but a mere rhetoric of land reform and as a matter of fact became a venue for the landlords to exempt themselves from the coverage of the bogus land reform program. A concrete manifestation of this is the failed distribution of thousands of hectares in Aquino-Cojuanco’s hacienda – the Hacienda Luisita. Another example is the case of the farmers in Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon where hundreds of farmers where continuously harassed forcing them to vacate the untilled land giving way for the entry of multinational agri-plantations and corporations. This situation is also common throughout the country.

From there, it is very clear that CARP/CARPER must be junked and that extending it will just extend the agony, suffering and injustice this government is doing to our farmers. Justice must be served to them now and the best way doing is by implementing a genuine land reform through the legislation of Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill,” ended Ms. Castro.



News Release

June 26, 2014

Manila, Philippines – Militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Wednesday labeled CARP as the longest running, bloody, and sham land reform in the history.

Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France said in a statement that as the 26-year old CARP will expire on June 30, the Aquino administration already approved House Bill 4296 which will extend the Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) component of CARP for another two years. “The approval of HB 4296 is equivalent to another two years of suffering faced by the Filipino farmers.” France said.

“The proponents of CARP are hiding big, big secrets to the farmers who are made to believe that the extension of the 26-year old bogus land reform will result to land acquisition and distribution of some 1.2 million hectares of agricultural lands to farmer beneficiaries.” France added.

Pamalakaya said that CARP is nothing but a real estate transaction between the state and the landlords. “All we need is a genuine agrarian reform; a land reform that will distribute lands to farmers 100% free and without pre-requisites. No more CARP extension, the extended land reform program will remain nothing but a toothless tiger, totally empty and extremely ridiculous.” France said.

On June 30, hundreds of militant fisherfolk will join the outrage of thousands of peasant’s protest led by its allied organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and will march from Department of Agrarian Reform to Mendiola, Manila.

For reference: Salvador France (09489964477), PAMALAKAYA PILIPINAS Vice Chairperson





June 25, 2014

Manila, Philippines – Hundreds of militant fisherfolk under Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) are preparing to join the peasant’s protest led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) this coming June 30 to call for a genuine agrarian reform and junk the fraud Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France said in a statement that even fisherfolk as part of the peasant class are also affected and being killed by this almost two decade agrarian reform enacted by former President Cory Aquino. “We are 26 years of slave, majority of fisherfolks before were able to till a land but because of excessive land use conversion and land grabbing under this CARP, we are displaced from our lands and forced to live in the coastal areas and find an alternative livelihood in the coast.” France said.

France said that even in the coastal areas, there’s always a threat of displacement and dislocation for them because of the projects imposed by the government under Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership. “The government is very sincere in keeping us out from our livelihoods; they really wanted to kill us. We are like rodents that creep from different burrows. ”

“26 years is enough, no room for extension. Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), Certificates of Land Transfer, Emancipation Patents (EP), we already had all of it, but still, not even a single handful of land is being distributed to farmers.” France said.

The militant fisherfolks from different provinces will arrive in Quezon City on June 30 and will march from Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to Mendiola, Manila. “We will join the outcry of thousands of oppressed farmers this coming June 30. We will fight for a genuine agrarian reform.” France added.

Aside from the calls to junk the CARP, PAMALAKAYA will also call to repeal the Republic Act 8550 or the Fisheries Code of 1998. ###


June 27 - Malolos to Meycauyan, Bulacan




The Colonial Question and the Agrarian Question


 At the present stage of our national history, the single immediate purpose to which our people are committed is the achievement of national democracy. On this single purpose, all are agreed, irrespective of social classes, unless one belongs to a class aggrandized by the perpetuation of semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions in our society. Unless one is a landlord or a comprador, one aspires to have his nation free from colonial and imperialist exploitation. Every patriotic Filipino wishes to liquidate imperialism and feudalism simultaneously in order to achieve national democracy.


The relation between national democracy and land reform is very clear. We can achieve genuine land reform only if we, as a nation, are free from colonial and imperialist domination. In fighting for national democracy against U.S. imperialism and feudalism today, we need to unite the peasantry—the most numerous class in our society—on the side of all other patriotic classes and we need to unite with the peasantry, as the main force or backbone of our national unity and anti-imperialist struggle.


The peasantry will join the anti-imperialist movement only if it is convinced that the movement can bring about a state capable of carrying out land reform. In his long struggle for social justice, the Filipino peasant has learned that there must first be a decisive change in the character of the state, brought about largely and fundamentally by the worker-peasant alliance. He has learned the lesson a long time ago that before democratic reforms can be completely effected the national state must be secured from imperialist control and must be firmed up by the overwhelming support of the peasantry and the working class, whose alliance is far more reliable and more qualitatively powerful than the peasant-ilustrado combination which became frustrated by U.S. imperialism at the start of this century.


If we study closely the early development of the national-democratic movement, we can see its profound basis in the agrarian situation in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. The demand for political freedom became a valid demand to the masses only when they realized that a national state, their own popular sovereignty, could protect them against the exploitative colonial power which could only benefit the colonizers and their local agents. The Philippine Revolution of 1896 took full form only after the peasantry became mobilized into a powerful national liberation movement against colonialism and serfdom. The peasantry provided the mass support for the Philippine revolutionary government and fought the most intense patriotic war against colonial authority, especially in those areas where the contradiction between the peasant and the landlord was most intense. Colonial domination meant feudalism. It had to be overthrown by the armed might of the peasantry.


If we study assiduously the writings and experience of the old national-democratic heroes, we cannot help but find the insistent line that the lack of political freedom of a nation is based upon economic exploitation and control by an alien power. In the case of the Filipino people, during the Spanish era, the theocratic unity of church and state and the lack of national and individual freedom were based upon the feudal economic order and upon the mutual landlordism of lay and ecclesiastical authorities.


In Dr. Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo, you will note how the story of Cabesang Tales cries out for a nation-state capable of protecting its own citizens against foreign exploiters. The story of Cabesang Tales is no different from the lives of our peasant brothers today. He is a victim of excessive land rent, usury, servitude, extortion, insecurity from both lawless elements and legal authorities, ignorance of laws made by landlords for their own benefit, and even of his own industry which only attracts more exploitation from the exploiters. His daughter, Huli, is sacrificed to the unjust circumstances that afflict her father’s goodwill as she falls prey to the pious hypocrisies of usurious do-gooders and the local curate who would even violate her virginal virtues as she seeks his fatherly assistance. On the other hand, while her family suffers all these difficulties, her brother is conscripted into the colonial army—in the same way that our youth today are conscripted into the U.S.-controlled military machinery—to fight peasants that are in revolt in other islands and in neighboring countries. As the unkindest cut of all to her family, Tano her brother—now called Carolino after his share of fighting for Spanish colonialism against the rebellious natives in the Carolines—finds himself in his own country to hunt down a so-called bandit called Matanglawin, his own father who has turned into a peasant rebel leading multitudes of those who had been dispossessed of their own land.


In an ironic situation where the peasant conscripts must fight their own peasant brothers upon the orders of a foreign power, when the mercenaries must face mountains and mountains of guerrillas, Carolino shoots down his own grandfather, the docile and overpatient old peasant who has always advised Cabesang Tales, his aggrieved son, never to respond to the provocations of the powerful. Old as he is, representing several generations of peasant oppression and patience, he has finally become a peasant fighter after the brutal death of his dear granddaughter only to be shot down in an objective act of colonial reaction by his own unwitting grandson. It is too late when Tano or Carolino realizes it is his own grandfather he has shot, unwittingly betraying his own family and his own class. Such is the ironic situation into which many of our peasant brothers are drawn whey they enlist in the military, follow the orders of U.S.-trained officers, use U.S. arms, be guided by U.S. intelligence, ideology and advice, and allow themselves to be used against their own peasant brothers in other towns or provinces in our own country, or in foreign countries where they are used by U.S. imperialism to fight peasants who are fighting for their national freedom, as in many countries of Southeast Asia today.


The story of the peasant rebel, Matanglawin, has its basis in the life of Dr. Jose Rizal. As a young man and as a leader of his people, he showed courage in exposing the exploitative practices of the friar landlords and drew up a petition seeking redress which was signed by the tenants, leaseholders and leading citizens of Calamba. What followed the petition came to be known as the Calamba Affair. Governor General Weyler surrounded the town of Calamba, burned the homes of the people, confiscated their animals and exiled the Filipino townleaders. The colonial logic of the Calamba Affair was pursued to the end, to the death and martyrdom of Rizal and to the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution. The dialectics of history led to the polarization between the Filipino peasantry and the Spanish colonial authorities. What made Rizal unforgivable to the Spanish colonial authorities was his having exposed feudal exploitation to its very foundation.


Andres Bonifacio, the city worker feeling spontaneously the fraternal links between his nascent class and the long- standing class of the peasantry, expressed in fiery revolutionary language the peasant protest against feudalism in his poem, “Katapusang Hibik ng Pilipinas”:


Ang lupa at bahay na tinatahanan,

Bukid at tubigang kalawak-lawakan,

Sa paring kastila’y binubuwisan...

Ikaw nga, Inang pabaya’t sukaban

Kami’y di na iyo saan man humanggan.

Ihanda mo, Ina, ang paglilibingan

Sa mawawakwak na maraming bangkay.


Bonifacio’s call for revolt against feudal exploitation had been prepared by a long series of peasant struggles covering hundreds of years before him. Only after having waged a long series of sporadic and uncoordinated rebellions did the Filipino peasant realize that it took a well- organized and a conscious nation of peasants working as a single massive force to successfully attack feudal power and achieve the formation of a nation-state. Note clearly in the revolutionary poem of Bonifacio that the denunciation of feudal exploitation goes with his call for armed struggle against the colonial power.


Apolinario Mabini, in the Ordenanzas de la Revolucion, a collection of directives for the successful conduct of the revolution, expressed in clear terms the abolition of feudalism as a national objective:


“Rule 21. All usurpations of properties made by the Spanish government and the religious corporations will not be recognized by the revolution, this being a movement representing the aspirations of the Filipino people, true owners of the above properties.”


The Philippine Revolution of 1896 could have been the instrument of the peasant masses for redeeming the lands taken away from them by their feudal exploiters through more than 300 years of colonial rule.





U.S. Imperialism: Enemy of the Filipino Peasantry


When U.S. military intervention and aggression came in 1898 to mislead and subsequently crush the Philippine Revolution in the Filipino-American war of 1899-1902, the main revolutionary objectives of establishing a free nation-state and of achieving land reform was crushed. In order to succeed in its reactionary venture, U.S. imperialism snuffed out the lives of more than 250 thousand combatant and noncombatant peasants. They did to our people, largely to our peasant masses, what they are now directly doing again to the people of Vietnam with the same purpose of frustrating a revolutionary nation and its collective desire for democratic reforms, particularly land reform.


In order to stabilize its imperialist rule in the Philippines, the U.S. government sought the collaboration of the old ruling class in the previous colonial regime. It returned to the friars and their lay collaborators their landed estates which had been confiscated from them, and offered to the landlord class as a whole the privilege of sharing the spoils of a new colonial administration and of participating in a new pattern of commercial relations, that is, one between a capitalist metropolis and a colony. The new dispensation of U.S. imperialism required the Philippines to be a producer of raw materials for U.S. capitalist industries and a purchaser of surplus U.S. manufactures.


As a result of the continuous struggle of the peasant masses against U.S. imperialism even after 1902, when all the Filipino landlords and ilustrado elements had already the accepted U.S. sovereignty and were already collaborating with the new colonial masters, the U.S. colonial administration went through the motion of buying friar estates for the purpose of dividing and redistributing them to tenants. However, no change in the agrarian situation could really be effected. The tenants were in no position to pay the high land prices, the high interest rates and the onerous taxes. The complicated land title system confounded them and allowed smart government officials and private individuals to grab lands. The lack of governmental measures of assistance brought about the wholesale loss of holdings of tenants who did acquire them. Huge tracts of land became alienated into the hands of U.S. corporations and individual carpetbaggers in contravention of laws introduced by the U.S. regime itself. Filipino landlords and renegades of the Philippine Revolution were given more lands as a reward for their collaboration and were allowed to gobble up small landholdings both legally and illegally.


U.S. imperialism had planned that large haciendas would still remain in the hands of the landlords in order that sugar, copra, hemp, tobacco and other raw agricultural products would be immediately exchanged in bulk with U.S. surplus manufactures through the agency of what we now call the compradors. Today, if you wish to have a clear idea of compradors, observe the comprador-landlords, under the leadership of Alfredo Montelibano in the Chamber of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who are benefited by the neocolonial trade between the Philippines and the United States and who are now maneuvering the perpetuation of parity rights and preferential trade.


According to the MacMillan-Rivera report, 19 percent of the farms in the Philippines were operated by tenants or sharecroppers at the beginning of the U.S. colonial regime. By 1918, after the supposed division and redistribution of the friar estates and after a large increase in total farms through the opening of public lands, tenancy had risen to 22 percent. In the 1930s, as the peasantry became more dispossessed and poorer, tenancy further rose to 36 percent. The pretended grant of independence by the United States, far from reversing the trend of peasant pauperization, increased it and exposed the emptiness of such a bogus grant. By the late 1950s the tenancy rate rose to 40 percent.


According to figures issued by the reactionary government, tenancy in the Philippines embraced eight million out of 27 million Filipinos in 1963. In Central Luzon, 65.87 percent of all farms were tenant operated, and in the province of Pampanga it was 88 percent—the highest rate for all provinces in the country. This did not yet include an equal number of the wholly landless agricultural workers who subsisted under onerous contract labor conditions on sugar haciendas, coconut plantations and elsewhere. The displaced tenants and the irregular, seasonal agricultural workers—the sacadas—are also a part of the hapless poor peasantry.


Political Unity of the Peasantry and the Working Class


Within a decade after the ruthless suppression of the last guerrilla remnants of the First Philippine Republic, the worsened conditions of the peasantry in our barrios gave rise to spontaneous revolts and also produced peasant mass protest organizations. These unified in 1922 in the Confederacion de Aparceros y Obreros Agricolas de Filipinas, which was broadened and renamed two years later as Katipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KPMP). The KPMP not only demanded agrarian reforms but also called for national independence in the same way the Katipunan of Bonifacio did. In 1930, the leaders of this peasant organization consequently united with the Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis ng Pilipinas for the purpose of creating a worker-peasant political alliance under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines.


The establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines marked a qualitative change in the status and thinking of the working class and a strategic portion of the peasantry. It made these two classes more capable of conducting their own class struggle and the national struggle. They challenged the liberal-democratic pretensions of U.S. imperialism and its local agents.


So long as U.S. imperialism held the reins of power in the Philippines, however, the Filipino peasantry could not raise themselves from their exploited condition. The more they manifested strength and progressive consciousness, the more they became subjected to military and police suppression unleashed by the U.S. imperialist regime. And yet, in that period, the peasant mass organizations were led into reformist activities exclusively and seemingly directed at the landlords and the trade union movement directed its main blow at the bourgeoisie “in general.” It is true that the working-class party was aware of the popular outcry for national independence, but it failed to develop the corresponding national-democratic strategy. It failed to deliver powerful blows at U.S. imperialism to expose it thoroughly and mass the forces of the nation against it. Instead, it was the puppet politicians and even the Sakdalistas who seemed to have perceived more clearly the main contradiction and the main demand and they tried to pursue the same objective of sabotaging the national-democratic movement into two disparate ways. The puppet politicians took the way of begging for independence from U.S. imperialism. The Sakdalistas took the way of anarchism.


U.S. imperialism, together with its landlord-comprador cohorts, was certain of its main enemy. A few months after the formal alliance of the KPMP and the KAP, the Communist Party of the Philippines was immediately outlawed; thus, it was deprived of its democratic rights.


The outlawing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, nevertheless, could not conceal the reality of peasant oppression during the direct colonial rule of the United States. In 1931, a local peasant revolt occurred in Tayug, Pangasinan. A bigger armed uprising of armed peasants occurred in 1936 in the towns of Cabuyao and Santa Rosa, Laguna led by the Sakdal. These peasant revolts were continuing manifestations of the unbearable exploitation of the peasantry and were at the same time the critical effects of the U.S. capitalist depression in the 1930s.


The bitterest agrarian unrest in the 1930s occurred in Pampanga where the Socialist Party and its peasant union, Aguman din Maldang Talapagobra, militantly fought the landlord and stood their ground against the civilian guards and the Philippine Constabulary. The Socialist Party led the peasants and agricultural workers in the open until anti-communist repression was eased as a result of the Popular Front tactics and the Communist party of the Philippines was allowed to surface to add its force to the worldwide anti-fascist struggle. The “social justice” program of President Quezon was articulated only as a concession to the vigorous demand of the peasantry for agrarian reform.


When World War II broke out, the dislodgement of U.S. imperialism from the Philippines and the emergence of anti-Japanese resistance became the condition for the success of the peasant movement in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon to effect land reform among themselves on the land abandoned by the landlords. Throughout the country, landlord power was generally weakened as its normal lines of control were broken by the conditions of war.


The Japanese imperialists were resisted by armed peasant masses. Where resistance was most successful, the peasant masses were able to use the land abandoned by the landlords to their social advantage. The resistance against Japanese imperialism served as a means for the peasants to assert their power over the land. The armed struggle gave them the power to eliminate the control and influence of the landlords over their land. Many landlords decided to collaborate with the Japanese imperialists. This occasion should have been an opportunity for the entire peasantry to learn that landlordism seeks protection in the bigger power of imperialism, whether American or Japanese. It was, indeed, unfortunate that while they were warding off the excesses and brutality of the newly-come imperialists, they became distracted from the similar nature of U.S. imperialism whose radio broadcasts were blatantly announcing its desire to retake the Philippines and whose motley agents were already scattered throughout the archipelago to keep USAFFE guerrillas waiting for MacArthur. The anti-fascist struggle could have been converted into a struggle against imperialism, both Japanese and American. The cadres of the peasant movement could have exposed the inter-imperialist aspect of the U.S.-Japanese war and alerted the peasantry to the return of U.S. imperialism. They could have spread out throughout the country and developed a reliable anti- imperialist guerrilla movement independent of the U.S.-directed and U.S.-controlled USAFFE. At any rate, through constant struggles against Japanese fascism and its landlord collaborators, the peasantry built up and supported a powerful national liberation army which delivered the most effective blows against the Japanese imperial army in the strategic areas of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon. These areas are strategic because they envelop Manila.


The Return of U.S. Imperialism and Landlordism


 When the U.S. imperialists returned in 1945, they immediately attempted to reinstall the landlords in all parts of the archipelago, particularly in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, where they went to the extent of arresting, imprisoning, coercing and liquidating the peasant leaders and their comrades. They trusted the landlords, including those who had collaborated with the fascist invaders, as their true allies and they were extremely distrustful of peasant guerrillas who were independent of the U.S.-controlled USAFFE. Not only the HUKBALAHAP became the object of U.S. discrimination and abuse after the war but also the independent guerrilla units, of which the exemplary unit of Tomas Confesor in the Visayas was typical. Post-war benefits and backpay went in bulk to prop up the recognized hero-puppets of U.S. imperialism.


Depending on the intelligence provided by the USAFFE, the Counter-Intelligence Corps and the landlords, the U.S. imperialists gave instructions to the Military Police and the Civilian Guards to attack the peasant masses and apprehend their leaders who had valiantly resisted the Japanese imperialists.


An entire squadron of anti-Japanese peasant fighters which accompanied the so-called U.S. liberators from Central Luzon to Manila was disarmed in Manila, driven off on their bare feet and massacred in Bulacan by the Military Police under secret imperialist orders. Peasant leaders were thrown into the same prisons where pro-Japanese puppets were kept. No less than the national chairman of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid was murdered while he was under the protective custody of the Military Police and while he was campaigning for “democratic peace” in the countryside. Eight members of Congress who ran under the Democratic Alliance and who were elected by the overwhelming votes of the organized and class-conscious peasantry were forcibly removed from Congress. All these provocations, which preceded the outbreak of full-scale guerrilla warfare were conducted by U.S. imperialism to clear the way for the complete return of imperialist-landlord control of the Philippines. All these provocations led ultimately to the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the unwarranted murder and imprisonment of peasants and their leaders and the antidemocratic crackdown on the Communist Party of the Philippines and such mass organizations as the Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid.


After the expulsion of the peasant-supported Democratic Alliance members of Congress in an all-out abuse of democracy, the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment were ratified, thus formalizing the reestablishment of the imperialist-landlord pattern of trade, free-trade so-called, and the parity rights for U.S. citizens and corporations in the exploitation of our natural resources and the operation of public utilities.


U.S. imperialism, by unilateral choice, retained its military bases at twenty-three strategic points all over the archipelago, maintained the privilege of expanding them and of moving its troops from there, and employed them to exercise coercive influence on the peasantry and the entire Filipino people. Subsequently, the U.S.-R.P. Military Assistance Pact formally sanctioned the subordination of our military to U.S. military officers in the JUSMAG and to the entire system of U.S. military bases, supplies, planning and advice. In our civil service, U.S. advisers continued to control and direct the most strategic offices. In short, U.S. imperialism retained strategic control over the coercive paraphernalia of the Philippine puppet state and over the economic foundation and civil appurtenances of daily political life.


As the landlords and the imperialists cooperated to their mutual advantage in attacking the peasant masses, the latter were compelled to fight back in order to defend their national and democratic rights. The result of the peasant struggle between the years 1946 to 1952 you already know; it is recent history and there are no better sources of information on this struggle than the veteran peasant guerrilla fighters themselves.


At the height of its world power, U.S. imperialism based its forces against the organized peasantry in order to paralyze the backbone of the Filipino nation and make its anti-national and anti-democratic impositions. In order to suppress the organized and class-conscious peasantry, the puppet agencies of U.S. imperialism recruited its troops from the peasantry only to use them against their own brothers in other barrios and towns. Thus, the story of Cabesang Tales and his son Tano or Carolino was again repeated in the ceaseless struggle of the peasantry.


The leadership of the revolutionary mass movement had emerged from the war politically unprepared to expose and fight the return of U.S. imperialism, which was the only power which could under the circumstances effectively help the landlords to retrieve their lands from the patriotic peasantry of Central Luzon and southern Luzon. Instead of exposing and fighting the revolutionary alliances between the landlords and the newly-returned U.S. imperialists who masterminded and gave full arms support to the Military Police and the Civilian Guards, the peasant movement accused the landlords only as pro-Japanese collaborators and failed to direct immediately the main blow against U.S. imperialism. The leadership of the revolutionary mass movement did not expose promptly the fact that the landlords who had been pro-Japanese collaborators became pro-U.S. collaborators. The delay in the exposure of U.S. imperialists gave the landlords the time to consolidate their positions.


The reactionary triumph of U.S. imperialism and feudalism has prolonged the suffering and exploitation of the peasant masses. Our peasant masses continue to suffer from the unfair distribution of land and the exploitative relations between tenant and landlord, unfair sharing of the crop, usury, landlord-controlled rural banks and cooperatives, profiteering middlemen, lack of price support, lack or high cost of fertilizers, irrigation and agricultural machines, inadequacy of extension work and scientific information and the deplorable conditions of the peasant in health, housing, nourishment and education. All of these difficulties and misfortunes are those of the entire nation, our agrarian nation whose numerically dominant class is the peasantry embracing more than 70 percent of our population. The specter of feudalism haunts us to this day and substantially determines the colonial character of our economy.


With the collaboration of U.S. imperialists and Filipino landlords in full swing, we observe that the supremacy of a ruling elite in this country combines the character of imperialism and feudalism. We observe the local supremacy of the comprador-landlord class which is the most benefited by the strategic U.S. control of our national economy and foreign trade. The owners of the sugar, coconut, abaca and other export-crop plantations have benefited the most from that colonial pattern of trade between our raw material exports and manufacture imports from the United States and other capitalist countries.


It was the military power of U.S. imperialism which prevailed over the peasantry in the absence of a prompt anti-imperialist and anti-feudal strategy developed by a peasant-mobilizing party. However, the myth that Ramon Magsaysay “saved democracy” has been created by U.S. imperialist propaganda. While Magsaysay was a successful propaganda weapon of U.S. imperialism and while he was able to confuse even some peasant leaders, it is clear beyond doubt now that he was responsible for the all-out abuse of democracy directed mainly against the peasantry, for thwarting the solution of the land problem by the peasant masses themselves, for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and for the brutalities of the sona, village bombardments, mass detainments and murders.


The imperialist version of land reform for which Magsaysay was glorified during his time has gone completely bankrupt. The land resettlement program intended supposedly for the benefit of the landless has only prolonged the life of feudalism in the Philippines. Landlords have taken over far vaster tracts of land in those areas of resettlement and in too many cases, they have even put into question the titles of small settlers. The program of expropriating big landholdings for redistribution to the landless has only been used by the landlords to dispose of their barren and useless lands at an inflated price to the government. The Magsaysay land reform, conducted by the Land Tenure Administration and the NARRA, have failed to improve the condition of the peasantry as the rate of tenancy has risen far beyond 40 percent. The credit system of the ACCFA and the system of FACOMAs have failed to help the tenants and the small farmers and have only been manipulated by the landlords and corrupt bureaucrats for their selfish interests. Agricultural extension workers from the Bureau of Agricultural Extension have always been inadequate. As the imperialist-landlord combination ruled over the country in the 1950s by force of its state power, the reform measures and palliatives proved ineffective in alleviating the condition of the peasantry or in whipping up false illusions. Imperialist and clerical organizations like the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the Federation of Free Farmers also proved ineffective even as propaganda instruments among the peasantry, especially among those who had experienced genuine peasant power.


If the old palliatives become totally useless, an exploiting ruling class looks for new and seemingly better ones. The exposure of the true nature of palliatives is too risky for the ruling class. It must adopt new palliatives designed to meet a possible resurgence of its suppressed adversary. Even as the class-conscious and progressive peasant movement has been quite suppressed since the middle of the fifties, the ruling classes never discount the possibility of an antagonistic resurgence of a peasantry left with no quarter. So, it must make certain concessions even only on paper. Thus, the Agricultural Land Reform Code has been proposed and passed. At the same time a new scheme of “civic action” in the countryside, directed by the JUSMAG and the “counterinsurgency” adviser, has been laid out. This “civic action” in the rural areas is to be coupled with the rural development campaign of the most numerous church.


New Conditions and the Danger of Yankee Monopolization


New conditions have developed making it necessary for U.S. imperialism to exercise direct control of Philippine agriculture. U.S. imperialism is now trying to plant its roots in Philippine agriculture and complete its control of our agrarian economy in the face of the impending termination and renegotiation of the Laurel-Langley Agreement and Parity Amendment. The policy planners of U.S. imperialism are applying the same tricks they applied on Cuba before and after the dissolution of the Platt Amendment—the Cuban version of our parity amendment. In other words, the U.S. imperialists want to preempt the negotiation table by deepening their control of our agrarian economy now. They want to continue parity rights even after the formal termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement.


The present world condition, especially in Southeast Asia, is forcing U.S. imperialism to prepare the Philippines as a growing ground for agricultural products that it uses directly or are used by Japan, its co-imperialist in the Far East. The Philippines is now being prepared as a reagent in a U.S.-controlled U.S.-Japan axis antagonistic to the anti-imperialist peoples of Asia. If you investigate now the U.S. agrocorporations or the Japanese agrocorporations wanting to develop Philippine agriculture, you will notice how all are commanded by the U.S. cartels and finance institutions, especially the Rockefeller monopoly group. It is certain that the Agricultural Land Reform Code is directed, in its original form as well as in its present form, against old-style landlordism. Had this code in its original version been passed, the statutory retention limit of 25 hectares for landowners who refuse to mechanize and the provisions imposing heavy taxes on undeveloped lands would have severely weakened old-style landlordism. Landlords would have come under greater legal compulsion to mechanize or sell out to those who have capital to mechanize or just cheat the law by delaying it and sabotaging it through a corrupt bureaucracy. The sham liquidation of old-style landlordism is progressive on first impression. But if the vast lands will only be retained or expanded in the hands of those individuals and agrocorporations which have the necessary capital to mechanize, then we will only be developing a new type of feudalism, only in certain parts of the country, and the peasant masses, particularly the landless tenants, would not be benefited at all. The condition of the peasant masses would only be aggravated by land monopolization conducted by private agrocorporations and individual capitalists. Some tenants would be converted into agricultural workers, others would be displaced and thrown out of the farm by the process of mechanization and modern business organization. The small landowners, in due time, would be forced into bankruptcy because of higher production costs per hectare and would not be able to compete with the large plantations which maintain more economic operations. Even the rich peasants who produce more than enough for their households to be able to sell in the market would be eventually eased out by lower prices of crops produced by the modern plantations. A modern plantation economy in the Philippines will convert a relatively few Filipino peasants into wage-earners but will displace many more tenants whom it will not be able to employ promptly and in sufficient number in industrial centers made even more efficient by automation. An efficient plantation economy in the Philippines will become more of an appendage to foreign monopoly-capitalism. The Philippines will be farther from an even and well-proportioned industrial development.


Since only U.S. firms are now in a financial position in the Philippines to invest in Philippine agriculture, as our own Filipino industrialists are themselves credit-starved (now much more in the case of old-style landlord!) because of decontrol and other restrictive conditions, the process of land monopolization would become more detrimental to the entire Filipino people. The superprofits to be derived from these enterprises would be continuously repatriated and unemployment would increase faster. U.S. firms and subsidiaries are even under instruction now by the U.S. government to prevent the outflow of dollars from the United States by getting credit from local sources in the Philippines. It is a widely perceived fact that U.S. projects and so-called joint ventures are utilizing the resources of such institutions as Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and others, thus depriving the Filipino investors themselves of much-needed credit. Modern landlordism under the control of Esso, Dole, United Fruit, Philippine Packing Corporation, Goodyear, Firestone and other U.S. monopoly firms which have had the experience of ravaging Latin America is no better than the old type of landlordism.


At the present moment, we can already see how vast tracts of land have been alienated from our national patrimony by giant U.S. firms under so-called “grower” or “planting” agreements with government corporations like the National Development Company and the Mindanao Development Authority. Despite the constitutional limitation that no private corporations shall hold more than 1,024 hectares, the Philippine Packing Corporation and the Dole Corporation have separately taken hold of 8,195 hectares and 5,569 hectares, respectively, through a “grower” agreement with the National Development Company and they are supposed to hold on to these lands, with option to expand at any time, for long stretches of periods well beyond this generation and beyond 1974 when parity rights will have terminated.


The United Fruit deal involving the alienation of 10,000 hectares of highly developed public lands and the project to segregate 50,000 hectares at the Mt. Apo National Park Reservation for delivery to U.S. firms through the NDC during the Macapagal administration are convincing manifestations of a new plan U.S. imperialism has for the Philippines.


The Dole takeover of 5,569 hectares of homestead lands in Cotabato is a clear negation of the owner-cultivatorship objective of the Agricultural Land Reform Code. This particular takeover for pineapple plantation and other commercial crops has adversely affected rice production in Cotabato by reducing severely the area devoted to rice.


That U.S. imperialism is literally planting itself in Philippine soil is very evident in several other moves, which were definitely made after decontrol and the approval of the five-year socioeconomic program of Macapagal. Means for higher productivity in agriculture have been set up confidently by U.S. firms. Esso has put up a $30 million fertilizer plant which maintains a strategic role. International Harvester, including Japanese farm machinery firms, are also optimistic that they will provide the implements and machines for large-scale farms. In the long run, these modern means for higher productivity can rise in price in such a way that the big plantations, because they buy them in bulk and use them more economically and profitably, will squeeze out the owner-cultivators from the field of production and marketing. Control and ownership of fertilizer production alone provides U.S. imperialism a powerful leverage with which to squeeze out the leaseholders, the owner-cultivators and even the rich peasants.


The U.S. government has conveniently made use of the World Bank to encourage agricultural education in order to provide the necessary technical support for U.S. plantations. The tested U.S. marionette, Carlos P. Romulo, was reassigned to the University of the Philippines in order to pay special attention to the receipt of a $6.0 million loan from the World Bank for Los Banos and the procurement of P21 million from the Philippine Congress as counterpart fund. Romulo’s field of operation has been expanded by the Marcos administration in apparent concession to U.S. imperialism, by making him secretary of education. Twenty-eight million dollars of the belated $73 million in war damage payments is about to be rolled out to sustain a land reform education program to be controlled directly by the U.S. government in accordance with the Johnson-Macapagal communique of 1964. This amount is expected by the reactionaries to subvert the revolutionary peasant movement. At the moment, there is a splurge of U.S. activity in the countryside through a multifarious array of agencies such as U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), Philippine Agency for Community Development (PACD), Freedom Fighters, Peace Corps, World Neighbors, Esso, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), CDRC, CAP, AGR, COAR, ACCI, FHD, IRRI, Operation Brotherhood, CARE, DND and Special Forces, which are directly controlled by the U.S. embassy through JUSMAG and the “counterinsurgency” adviser.


Also, improvement of U.S. military bases in the South cannot but mean securing Mindanao for U.S. agrocorporations. Within the Dole plantation area, underground missile launchers are supposed to have been set up. These are bases apparently prepared to strengthen U.S. aggression in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, they can very well serve to protect U.S. agrocorporations producing crops that the United States may in the near future never be able to get from neighboring countries because of the rise of anti- imperialist movements in the region. It is highly significant that large rubber plantations are being prepared in Mindanao today. Aside from serving the needs of U.S. imperialism, technical crops are also intended to serve the needs of Japan.


The narrow foreign policy of the Philippines, which has been chiefly geared to the so-called special relations with the United States, is expected to trap land reform in the vise of U.S. agrocorporations and of U.S. global economic policy in general. The obvious lack of funds in the National Treasury has been used as an occasion to call for “land reform” loans from U.S.-controlled financing institutions like the World Bank, AID, IMF, and others. The Land Bank and the Agricultural Credit Association are bound to be controlled by the U.S. finance system.


The Agricultural Land Reform Code


The Agricultural Land Reform Code claims to seek the abolition of tenancy and the establishment of owner-cultivatorship as the basis of Philippine agriculture. It is supposed to help the small farmers, especially those with economic family-size farms, to be free from pernicious institutional restraints and practices to build a viable social productivity and higher farm income. Aside from expropriation and land redistribution, land resettlement and public land distribution are also proposed by the code. A whole chapter of the code is devoted to provisions guaranteeing the application of all labor laws equally to both industrial and agricultural wage-earners.


For the purpose of giving lands to the landless and to those who have less than enough for their respective families, a leasehold system is to be set up as the first step towards self-reliance. The national Land Reform Council, composed of the representatives of all land reform agencies and of the political party in the minority, is supposed to proclaim an area as a land reform area before its inhabitants can enjoy the leasehold system wherein the tenant becomes a leaseholder paying only 25 percent of the average of three previous annual harvests as rent to the landowner.


That only some Filipino tenants can enjoy the rent of 25 percent upon the proclamation made by the National Land Reform Council is quite puzzling to those who are convinced that such rent may as well be paid in common by all tenants to landowners all over the country by general proclamation. This general proclamation should not even carry the pretentious claim that it abolishes tenancy and replaces it with the leasehold system. For after all, both terms “tenancy” and “leasehold system,” although the former sounds more pejorative, means essentially the burden of paying rent.


The Code says that the National Land Reform Council can proclaim a land reform area only after it has considered the nature and possibilities of the proposed land reform area in accordance with priorities set by the code. It is in the consideration of these priorities and other factors that land reform in favor of the peasant masses can be delayed indefinitely, derailed and sabotaged. It is in the consideration of these priorities that the bureaucrats in the land reform agencies will find more affinity with the landlord and imperialist interests which have plans opposed to those of the poor peasants on the same tract of land.


The very idea that the NLRC may proclaim a land reform area only where the leaseholders have a good chance of developing into owner-cultivators is obviously self-defeating and deceptive. Among the several factors that must be considered in the choice of a land reform area are its “suitability for economic family-size farms,” which is unfortunately defined by the code as a “situation where a parcel of land whose characteristics such as climate, soil, topography, availability of water and location, will support a farm family if operated in economic family-size farm units and does not include those where large-scale operations will result in greater production and more efficient use of the land.” This matter of “suitability” is taken into consideration even as the leaseholders can always petition the Land Authority to acquire the leaseholdings for redistribution to them.


On the question of suitability, before any proclamation is made by the NLRC in favor of prospective leaseholders and owner-cultivators, the landlord can easily preempt altogether the leasehold system and expropriation proceedings by asserting that large-scale operations by himself on his land will result in greater production and more efficient use. The question can be reduced to a question of legal definition pure and simple by the landlord, or he can actually start what may be termed as “large-scale operations” on his land in order to prevent either the question of rent reduction or expropriation from being raised. What is absurd is that the prospect of large-scale operations by cooperatives of owner-cultivators on the same tract of land is preempted among other things by the landlord.


To evade the leasehold system and possible expropriation proceedings, the landlord has simply to mechanize, to engage in “large-scale” operations such as sugar planting, or to plant permanent trees like citrus, coconuts, cacao, coffee, durian, rubber and others. In Central Luzon and other parts of the country, the landlords are converting their rice lands into sugar lands. In the years to come, this will continue to deal a telling blow on our rice production. In Southern Luzon, those working in coconut, citrus, abaca and coffee lands as tenants are complaining and asking why they are not benefited by land reform. Those who work on fishponds and saltbeds have the same complaint of not being within the purview of land reform.


To pursue the discussion as to how the landlord can evade expropriation, let us assume that he NLRC does unilaterally and successfully proclaim land reform over a certain area. The Land Authority—the implementing arm of the council—will still have to subject its acquisitions to the following order of priorities: idle or abandoned lands; those whose area exceeds 1,024 hectares, those whose area ranges between 500 and 1,024 hectares; those whose area ranges between 144 and 500 hectares; those whose area ranges between 75 and 144 hectares. The Philippine government is obviously making a big joke by saying that it wishes to exhaust its financial resources on idle or abandoned lands which are in most cases too expensive to develop. The poor peasant cannot afford to develop such kind of land and it is simply futile for the government to purchase this.


The statutory limit of 75 hectares that a landowner can retain is big enough to perpetuate landlordism in the Philippines. Besides, a landlord can easily retain many times more than this size so long as he has enough members of his family to distribute it to. Another course of action for the landlord is to own land in many different places and keeping to the statutory limit of 75 hectares in each place. In the Agricultural Land Reform Code, there are no plugs to these loopholes.


The landlord has so many defenses to preempt the expropriation of his property. But, little is it realized that a landlord might actually offer to sell his land to the Land Authority. Because, according to the order of priorities, in the acquisition of lands by the Land Authority, idle or abandoned lands are to be purchased first. So long as the landlord can demand “just compensation” or even an overprice, he can always strike at a private bargain with the government appraiser. After getting the payment for his expropriated property, he can always acquire private lands elsewhere or public lands to perpetuate his class status. It can be said conclusively at this juncture that the Agricultural Land Reform Code allows the perpetuation of landlordism in the country. The landlords are not hindered but even encouraged to seize public lands already tilled by the national minorities and small settlers in frontier areas.


The ability of the Land Authority to relieve deep agrarian unrest and provide the landlords with “just compensation” would depend on the adequacy of funds in the Land Bank. It is already clear that the government is reluctant to make an actual release of funds to the Land Bank. The financial crisis of U.S. imperialism and all its running dogs is something to be seriously reckoned with. Even if funds of whatever enormity are to be released, these could be gobbled up by only a few landlords and bureaucrats. Past experience clearly shows that the bureaucrats and landlords collude in fixing a high price for lands that the latter are willing to part with. The result is that the landlords have more funds to acquire more lands and the poor peasants can never afford the redistribution price exacted by the government.


Except in the change in name, the Agricultural Credit Administration, is no different from its corrupt and inadequate predecessor, the ACCFA. The Commission on Agricultural Productivity is also nothing but a new name for the old Bureau of Agricultural Extension; it is nothing but an ill-manned and indolent bureaucratic agency of the ESFAC. The landlords have always used these agencies more to their advantage than the poor peasants.

There will be more severe contradictions between the peasant masses and the landlord class. The contradictions will arise from the given conditions of these classes as well as from the interpretation of the Agricultural Land Reform Code.


These contradictions are supposed to be resolved by the Court of Agrarian Relations if ever they become formal legal disputes. The Office of Agrarian Counsel is supposed to provide free legal assistance to individual peasants and peasant organizations. But judges and government lawyers are themselves landlords, landgrabbers and land speculators. Behind the facade of populist expressions, they support the landlord system.


It is relevant to cite the fact that when the Agricultural Land Reform Bill was being drafted in Malacanang and discussed in Congress, there was no representative of the peasantry there—particularly the poor peasantry—who was conscious of the class interests of the peasantry and who would have fought for those class interests. What happened, therefore, in the absence of direct political representatives of the peasant masses, was that the political representatives of the landlords and the imperialists had all the chance to finalize the bill according to their class interest and provided themselves all the escape clauses.


The Agricultural Land Reform Code will not solve the land problem. As a matter of fact, it will only aggravate the dispossession of the peasantry and intensify unjust relations between the landlord class and the peasantry. The beautiful phrases in the code in favor of the landless are immediately nullified by provisions which in the realm of reality will be taken advantage of by the landlord class.


What Is To Be Done?


For the activists of national democracy there is no substitute to going to the countryside and making concrete social investigation in order to determine the oppression and exploitation imposed on the peasantry by the landlord class.


There is no point in making a rural investigation if the facts learned from the masses are not analyzed and processed into terms for basic comprehension of problems as well as solutions. The activists of national democracy should show to the peasants, especially those who have no land at all and those who do not have enough land, the essence of their suffering and arouse them to solve their own problem.


In the present era only the peasant masses can liberate themselves provided they follow the correct leadership of the working class and its party. It is senseless to put trust in laws made by the landlords themselves no matter how gaudily they may wear the garments of bourgeois reformism.


The concrete step that can be immediately taken by the activists of national democracy is to organize peasant associations dedicated to fighting for the democratic rights of the peasantry. The present laws may be used to some extent but if they are not enough, as practice has borne out, then the peasant masses themselves will decide to take more effective measures, including armed revolution.


The activists of national democracy who go to the countryside should exert all efforts to arouse and mobilize the peasant masses into breaking the chains that have bound them for centuries. Agrarian revolution provides the powerful base for the national-democratic revolution. #


[1] Speech delivered in Pilipino before the first Central Luzon Regional Conference of Kabataang Makabayan at Republic Central Colleges, Angeles City, on October 31, 1965; and in English at the College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna, on March 23, 1966.