By Chito Chavez
Farmers from many parts of the country have trooped to Quezon City to join the broad mass actions later as President Duterte delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) today.
The protesting farmers claimed “Duterte has done enough damage to the peasant sector and rural communities nationwide’’.
“There is no land reform under Duterte. He has only worsened the root causes of the nationwide strife,” the farmers said
“Duterte consciously neglected the people’s demand and clamor for genuine agrarian reform and free land distribution and instead, protected the interests of local and foreign land-grabbers, plantations and real estate, and mining companies. He maintained the land monopoly and control over a vast tract of lands of big landlords, and hacienderos,” they added.
Danilo Ramos of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said “Duterte also threw in the bin years of hard work to address the root causes of the local armed conflict and achieve just and lasting peace’’.
He noted that farmers have demanded land, peace, and justice but Duterte only declared an all-out war against the people by declaring Martial Law in Mindanao and imposing dictatorial policies.
“This situation must come to an end. Duterte’s delusional and tyrannical rule must end,” he added.
“We have had enough of this government’s “kill, kill, kill” policy. The Duterte presidency is killing its constituents in so many ways – through the heinous anti-drugs war that claimed the lives of thousands, through state-sponsored political killings, and through a host of economic policies attacking the people’s livelihood,’’ the KMP noted.
The KMP at present said it has documented 214 farmers and land reform advocates killed since Duterte came to power in 2016.
Farmers from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog join NCR protests
Farmers from Southern Luzon have started to converge in Manila and march in Quezon City to protest the continuing deprivation of the multibillion coco levy fund which Duterte promised to distribute to small coconut farmers.
They are also protesting the non-stop militarization in Quezon and Mindoro Occidental provinces in the past months under the Oplan Kapanatagan campaign plan of the PNP and AFP.
The Central Luzon rice farmers have also protested the alleged massive land-use conversion and Build-Build-Build projects in the region and the Rice tariffication/liberalization policy which displaced the farmers.
Also, peasant leaders from Masbate, Samar, and Mindanao are also joining the United People’s SONA to highlight the situation of farmers in their respective communities.
The protesters said fisher folks, peasant women, rural youth and indigenous people are also joining today’s nationally-coordinated mobilization.
“At present, rural communities are being attacked and suppressed by focused military operations under the AFP’s Peace and Development and Community Support Programs operations. Ramos added.
In Visayas and Mindanao, farmers will link up with broad sectors to express outrage over the incessant killings of farmers and indigenous people and the de facto Martial imposed in Samar, Negros, and Bicol regions through Duterte’s Memorandum Order No. 32.