Militant farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) – Southern Mindanao Region held a protest action here today in time for the anniversary of the passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)- day after the son of the president who enacted it into law 13 years ago, Benigno “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino was proclaimed by Philippine Congress as the next 15th President.
The irony was not lost to farmer-protesters who over the last decade slammed the sham land reform of Pres. Corazon Aquino and the resistance of the Cojuangco family to resolve the Hacienda Luisita labor conflict and distribute their vast lands to thousands of farmer-workers.
“While 70% of the Filipino farmers languish in landlessness and poverty, vast tracts of lands are being offered by the Philippine government to foreign capitalists such as the 729 – hectare Mt. Diwalwal, not to mention the wide multinational plantations on banana, pineapple that have undermined our local agricultural industry,” said Pedro Arnado, chairperson of KMP-SMR and chair of ANAKPAWIS partylist.
The CARP which was extended thru the CARP extension with reforms or CARPER law has been deeply protested by farmers groups throughout the country for its “failure” to realize genuine agrarian reform. Arnado added, “The impoverished condition of farmers in Davao region is even more magnified as Mt. Diwalwal which is an important source of minerals in the region is about to be mined out for the profit of a giant firm which supplies the demands of the imperialist countries. Diwalwal, if managed well and prudently by the state and the people, would be significant to generate funds for national development.”
KMP also expressed guarded hopes about the plight of farmers in the Aquino administration as laws such as the CARPER law ensures that agricultural lands in the country remain as properties of “rich-landed elites, including the family of incoming president Benigno Aquino and multinational companies such as DOLE, Del Monte, Nestle among others.”