Peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) asked President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to accord justice to the farmers who are involved in the brutal and bloody dispersal two months ago in North Cotabato.
“Up until today, not a single perpetrator of the Kidapawan Massacre was brought to justice. We urge President-elect Duterte to pursue justice for farmers oppressed by the haciendero Aquino administration,” Antonio Flores (KMP) Secretary General stated.
The Kidapawan massacre happened last April 1 where drought-stricken farmers protested and were violently dispersed by authorities. Said farmers are protesting for supplies of rice and assistance as they are terribly affected by the on-going El Niño.
Antonio Flores dared the president-elect to give doable solutions regarding landlessness and poverty in the provinces, which he alleged to have gone downhill in the six-year administration of current President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III.
“Nine out of ten farmers have no land to till. Vast lands are still under the control of haciendas and landlords. It is up to Duterte to live up to the challenge of reversing this situation,” Flores said.
“Duterte’s policy on land reform will also be crucial in giving justice to farmers,” he added.
Earlier this month, the peasant group said in a statement that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will stay as a political ornament without a land reform policy.
“As long as there is no new land reform law that exists DAR remains as an instrument of big landlords, perpetuating a bankrupt, anti-peasant agrarian reform,” Flores said.
KMP clarified that there is no current and existing land reform law in the Philippines and DAR does not have any mandate to execute any land reform law after the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) expired last June 2014.
“The peasantry is strongly clamoring for a genuine land reform law that will mandate the free distribution of lands to farmers, dismantle haciendas and land monopolies and stop foreign ownership of lands,” said Flores.
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