Highlighting the importance of a “genuine” land reform program, peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) urged presidential candidates to present their categorical stance on land reform and free land distribution.
In a press statement, KMP challenged the presidential candidates to give an “utmost priority” to the long-standing pleas of Filipino farmers for genuine land reform.
“Presidential aspirants must present and make public their categorical stance on land reform and free land distribution. A genuine agrarian reform program is the first step to achieving a just and lasting peace in the country,” said KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos on Monday, Feb. 21.
The statement came after about a hundred farmers from Hacienda Murcia in Tarlac went to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Central Office on Monday, Feb. 21, to seek urgent action on the 132-hectare land dispute.
Jocelyn Manlupig, chairperson of Hacienda Murcia Farmers Association, likewise disclosed that 400 families in Hacienda Murcia were included as the “original beneficiaries” of Hacienda Luisita Inc, but the 132-hectare land was listed for reclassification by the government despite protestations from farmworkers.
Meanwhile, KMP stated that the “lack of genuine land reform program” during the Duterte administration has greatly affected and pushed farmers to assert their right to the land “even with lives at stake.”