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Farmers accuse Aranetas of grabbing farms and home lots in Bulacan

A farmers’s group accused a bank of fencing off land in Sitio San Isidro in Barangay Tungkong Mangga in San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan, adding the bank is acting in behalf of the “landgrabbing” Araneta family.

The Samahan at Sandigan ng mga  Magsasaka sa San Isidro-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Sasamag-KMP) said the Manila Banking Corp. ordered the fencing off of lots and started constructing one-meter high posts surrounding the perimeter of Blocks 9, 10, 11,12 and 13B in Sitio Isidro.

Sasamag-KMP said surveyors and engineers from AB Surveying and Development Corp. arrived last August 29 and claimed the farm lots planted with vegetables, root crops and food crops where houses are also located.

The surveyors misled barangay officials and presented a letter that said they would only conduct a “survey of the area,” the group said.

“The farmers were surprised to see heavy equipment and construction materials such as hollow blocks, steel and cement bags being hauled near their farms. The fencing and construction activities have instantly sent the farmers into a panic,” Sasamag-KMP said,

The group also said that soldiers of the 48th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army encamped nearby only looked on as farmers tried to stop the surveying company from fencing off farms and home lots .

“The soldiers are not in our community to protect the people. They are here to protect the interests of land grabbers and private companies with businesses in San Jose Del Monte City,” Eriberto Peña of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan said in a statement.

Peña said the soldiers have been encamping near the community’s barangays hall since 2018 and conducting surveillance activities masked as “Community Support Program Operations.”

The farmers said Barangay Tungkong Mangga in SJDM is the targeted location of the intermodal depot and last station of the multibillion MRT-7—a big-ticket construction project supported by the Rodrigo Duterte administration.

The MRT-7 and commercial components will cut through 103.48 hectares of the farming communities of Sitio San Isidro and Sitio Ricafort in Tungkong Mangga. More than a thousand farmers and their families will be affected by the project, the KMP said.

Large real estate companies have already put up subdivisions and township projects in San Jose Del Monte City in anticipation of the completion of the MRT-7 project. 

In addition to the Araneta group, Ayala Land Inc. has also expanded its Php7-billion Altaraza Town Center project to include Amaia Altaraza Steps, a medium-rise condominium project.

Colinas Verdes Residential Estates and Country Club, a joint-venture partnership with Sta. Lucia Real Estate and Development, already covers 261 hectares of land in Tungkong Mangga, KMP added.

The group said the Araneta family covets a total of 3,500 hectares of land in San Jose Del Monte City that includes portions of the nearby Pangarap village in Caloocan City-North. 

“These real estate projects are affecting the farmers in the sub-village of San Isidro in Tungkong Mangga. There are frequent instances wherein crops planted by farmers are being bulldozed by surveying companies and private security guards employed by real estate companies. The security personnel also prohibit farmers from planting and harvesting their crops,” KMP leader Danilo Ramos said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Your legacy is anti-people, KMP tells Arroyo

Contrary to her glowing description of her presidency and speakership as she announced her retirement from politics, farmers said House of Representatives (HOR) Speaker and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s legacy are laws detrimental to the people’s interests.

Responding to her valedictory at the last session of the HOR Tuesday, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said Arroyo led the approval of an endless string of anti-people policies and legislation, including the rice tarrification law, the lowering of the age of criminal liability, regressive taxes, revival of mandatory military training for minors, among others.

Arroyo said she will retire from politics after three decades after having been elected as senator, vice president, president and Pampanga representative.

Recalling her presidency and career in Congress with world leaders, Arroyo said she does not think she will have as dramatic a legacy as giants of world history such as United States President John Kennedy.

“I think my legacy will center around restoring our country’s fiscal stability after a storm of financial crisis here and abroad. Our fiscal reforms expanded resources for infrastructure and development, after which, as I said earlier, our poverty level went down from 39% to 26%” she said.

‘Good riddance’

The KMP said they welcome Arroyo’s retirement from politics as “good riddance.”

“She will continue to be known as among the most loathed public officials in history. Arroyo and her enabler Rodrigo Duterte deserve condemnation for all the anti-people policies they are implementing,” KMP chairperson emeritus and Anakpawis President Rafael Mariano said. 

Mariano recalled that Arroyo’s speakership did nothing but ignore Anakpawis’ landmark bills.

“Under Arroyo’s helm in Congress, pro-people measures such as the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill and Php750 national minimum wage hike were snubbed and archived,” Mariano said.

Mariano added that Arroyo also presided in the railroading of the refilled coco levy bill that reduced the number of farmer-representatives to the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Trust Fund Committee from nine to only three last month. 

“The coco levy bill approved by Congress will not guarantee the return of the multibillion coco levy fund and assets to farmers. Duterte and his allies will only gain control of the fund,” Mariano said. 

Under the new coco levy bill, the trust fund committee will have an annual capitalization budget of Php10-billion, the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Trust Fund Committee to be appointed by the President will be composed of six representatives from government sector, two representatives from the private coconut industry sector, and only three farmer-representatives.

The coco levy assets will be privatized under the supervision of the Privatization Management Office, the KMP added.

“These are not the demands of small coconut farmers. Ito ang gusto ni Duterte kaya ito ang sinunod ng Kongreso,” Mariano said.

“This long and drawn out battle for the return of the coco levy fund has burdened millions of small coconut farmers and their families. Many of them have died without actually benefiting from the coco levy fund,” the peasant leader said.  

Estimated to be worth up to 150 billion pesos, the fund was levied from coconut farmers by the Ferdinand Marcos regime that the Supreme Court said belonged to them.

Mariano said small coconut farmers will continue to assert the genuine return of the fund.

‘Loathed politician’

Arroyo, daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal, was the Phillippine president for nine years.

She took over the presidency from Joseph Estrada in 2001 after an uprising.

Her election in 2004 to a presidential term of her own was widely believed to be fraudulent, leading to massive protests and even ouster attempts by rebel soldiers.

During her reign, human rights group Karapatan reported 1,205 victims of extrajudicial killings and 206 victims of enforced disappearances. 

She was also elected as Pampanga second district representative in 2010.

She was arrested and jailed for plunder in 2011 but was acquitted and freed in 2016.

In July 2017, she was elected as House Speaker in a controversial maneuver alleged to be orchestrated by Davao City mayor Sara Duterte who was at odds with then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Search warrant’ para pumatay

“Hindi totoo na dahil may searxh warrant ay kailangan nilang hulihin, Ang kanilang layunin ay patayin ang mga tao doon sa Canlaon City, Manjuyod at Santa Catalina sa Negros Oriental.” — Antonio ‘Ka Tonying’ Flores, secretary general, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

Image by Carlo Francisco/Kodao

Putragis Amang!

Putragis amang! Kami’y namamalimos lamang ng kapirasong lupa
Bakit pinaputok ang kanilang sandata?
Hayup nga ba kaming, hayup sa turing 
Bakit kaming gutom, bala ang pinakain!

Putragis amang! ang palasyo pala ay hindi dulugan ng awa 
Ang kongreso pala’y kongreso ng panginoong may lupa
Saan namin hahanapin 
Ang pangakong pag-laya?

Putragis amang! huwag nila kaming itulak sa dingding 
Mabangis sumalakay ang mga ginutom
Sa tagisan ng bagang kapag wala nang madurog na kanin
Huhulagpos ang malaong galit na kimkim!

Sumpain ang US!
Si Cory, si Starke, at mga katulad nila
Silang nagbibigay ng laya na busabusin ang paggawa 
Silang nagpapahintulot sa mga panginoong may lupa!

O hari ng gatilyo, hukbo ng mga hukbo
Bayani ng mga bukirin
Idulot mong sa mga kamay namin
Madurog ang mga salarin!

  • This poem had been repeatedly performed at rallies commemorating the Mendiola Massacre of 22 January 1987 when 12 peasants were killed and at least 51 others were injured. According to Mendiola Massacre survivor Mirriam Aledia, who recalled the poem from memory, the poem was performed by an old man during an indignation rally at Mendiola a few days after the massacre took place. The name of the author remains unknown.
  • The featured image is a cartoon by Mark Suva on the occasion of the massacre’s 32nd anniversary today. The background photo he used was taken from kahimyang.com. All rights to the original photographer.

Third political prisoner dies under Duterte

Another political prisoner died, bringing to three the number of activist detainees who failed to gain freedom despite repeated promises of freedom by Rodrigo Duterte earlier in his presidency.

Alex Arias, 63 years old, was declared dead on arrival at the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City at about 7:30 Sunday night due to a heart attack, the eve of the International Human Rights Day.

Arias suffered from hypertension and diabetes mellitus type 2.

Arias was a former chairperson of Pagkakaisa at Ugnayan ng mga Magbubukid sa Laguna, an affiliate of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

He was arrested on April 7, 2012 on kidnapping with murder and frustrated homicide charges.

He was detained in Metro Manila District Jail Annex 4 (formerly SICA 1).

Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights said the cases were trumped up.

Karapatan added that Arias was among the 160 sickly and elderly political prisoners the Duterte government promised to release as part of goodwill measures for the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

On November 28, 2016, peasant leader Bernabe Ocasla died of cardiac arrest. He was afflicted with hypertension and rheumatic heart disease while in prison.

On September 12, 2017, 74-year old Marcos Aggalao, who was suffering from pneumonia, dementia and hypertension, died at the Kalinga Provincial Hospital.

Karapatan said that the death of three political prisoners under the Duterte government is in stark contrast to its special treatment of convicted plunderer Imelda Marcos as well as other high government officials who have been released despite their crimes against the Filipino people.

Various group held a candle lightning and vigil in Southern Tagalog Sunday night Arias. # (Joseph Cueva/Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘October Resistance’ isasagawa ng mga magsasaka

Isang press conference noong Oktubre 8 ang isinagawa nang Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas o KMP at mga kaanib na organisasyon nito upang i-anunsyo ang kanilang pagkilos na tinaguriang “October Resistance against poverty, hunger and state fascism.”

Bilang bahagi ng buwan ng mga magsasaka ngayong Oktubre, iba’t-ibang aktibidad ang kanilang isasagawa bitbit ang panawagang tunay na reporma sa lupa, libreng pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka, pagkontrol sa mga presyo ng bigas at iba pang bilhin gayundin ang pagtigil sa militarisasyon at paglabag sa karapatang tao sa kanayunan.

Ayon naman sa Amihan (Pambansang Pederasyon ng mga Kababaihang Magsasaka), lumalala ang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka at kababaihang magbubukid. Imbes na ibigay sa mga magsasaka ang lupain, inilaan pa ito sa ekspansyon ng mga plantasyon, malawakang pagmimina at land use conversion ang iba sa mga malaking kumpanya at panginoong maylupa.

Giit pa ng Amihan, walang plano si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte para sa pagpapaunlad ng agrikultura at pamimigay ng lupa sa mga magsasaka.

Mariin naman nilang binatikos ang pakanang ‘Red October’ ng gubyernong Duterte at Armed Forces of the Philippines at sinabing layunin lamang nito na takutin at pahupain ang tumitinding galit ng sambayanan dahil sa walang-awat na taas presyo ng mga bilihin at serbisyo dulot ng Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law o TRAIN Law.

Binigyan nila ng halimbawa ang patuloy na pampulitikang panunupil at “red tagging” sa mga organisasyon at aktibista.

Patuloy din ang pagsasampa ng mga gawa-gawang kaso laban sa mga lider magsasaka kabilang na ang tagapangulo ng KMP sa Northern Mindanao na si Ereneo Ubarde at 33 iba pang lider sa rehiyon, gayundin ang pag-aresto kay Gerry Basahon, lider ng Misamis Oriental Farmers Association na kaanib ng KMP noong Oktubre 4, ani ng mga grupo.

Kinundena din nila ang pinakahuling kaso nang pamamaslang noong Oktubre 6 sa tagapangulo ng PAMALAKAYA sa Negros Oriental na si Jaime Delos Santos.

Dagdag pa ng KMP, kapag patuloy na tumindi ang atake nang rehimen tiyak na tatapatan ito ng paglaban nang taumbayan. Nakatakda ang kanilang malakihang pagkilos ng mga magsasaka sa Oktubre 19 sa ibat-ibang panig ng bansa. # (Bidyo at ulat ni Joseph Cuevas/Larawan ni Jinky Mendoza-Aguilar)

Rights groups assail Duterte’s fascist attacks

Human Rights group Karapatan and other progressive groups held a Black Friday Protest, September 14, at Gate 2 of Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City to call for an end to the attacks of the Duterte regime against the Filipino people.

According to Karapatan, the Duterte regime is a danger to the Filipino people.

Duterte’s reign of terror through its counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and its imposition of martial law in Mindanao are taking advantage of alleged terrorist activities as pretext to attacks against civilians, the group said.

Two farmers from Compostella Farmer’s Association (CFA) were killed last August 19. Couple Gilbert and Jean Labial on their way home after visiting a wake from a fellow CFA member. They were killed by suspected elements of 66th IB because of their opposition to the entry of mining companies in their area, the protesters said.

Karapatan also cited the recent killing of Haide Malalay Flores last August 21 in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental who was shot dead while on her way home. She was a businesswoman and an activist for peasant advocacies.

Karapatan reported as well the case of spouses Edison and Divina Erece who were arrested by elements of military and police last September 3 in Calayan, Cagayan. The couple were members of the peasant group Amihan-Cagayan.

They were charged with illegal possession of explosives, murder, arson and qualified assault.

Political prisoners now number 509, majority of whom are poor peasants, Karapatan said.

Meanwhile, Antonio Flores, secretary-general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), stressed that aside from killings of 150 farmers, the Duterte government also slapped trumped up charges against peasant activists.

The filing of criminal offenses and red-tagging of farmer leaders as members of New Peoples Army are the trademark of this administration. Instead of addressing the problem of landlessness and poverty, continuos military operations and human rights violations happened almost everyday, Flores added.

Estrellita Bagasbas of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) said that even urban poor people were victims of Duterte’s attacks.

She cited the violence in Pandi Bulacan where “fake and ousted members” of KADAMAY are allegedly being used by the police as intelligence agents.

Some organizers and leaders of KADAMAY also recieved death threats and harassments, KADAMAY said. # (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)

KMP: AFP-PNP ‘misencounter’ bound to happen

Farmer’s group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the so-called mis-encounter between government troops earlier this week in Sta. Rita, Samar is inevitable under President Rodrigo Duterte’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.

“The government’s own policy Oplan Kapayapaan and not Murphy’s Law is responsible for the mis-encounter between the 1st Platoon, 805th Company, Regional Mobile Force Battalion 8 of the Philippine National Police and the 87th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army troops in Sitio Lonoy, Barangay San Roque, Sta Rita, Samar,” KMP said in a statement.

Six police were killed and nine were wounded in the incident both the Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) blamed on improper coordination.

“There was coordination. We just do not know down to what level the coordination reached,” PNP director general Oscar Albayalde said Wednesday.

The AFP said its troopers suffered no casualties.

According to news reports, the AFP’s 87th IBPA have mistaken the police troops as New People’s Army guerillas. Both units were conducting counterinsurgency operations.

The KMP, whose members have complained of being target of the government’s counterinsurgency operations said such occurrences are bound to happen.

“Wala nang sini-sino ang mga tropa ng gobyerno, kahit sila-sila nagpapatayan na. Government troops are ready to fire a gun at the least provocation, regardless of the situation or probable consequences,” KMP said.

The mis-encounter shows how indiscriminate government troops are in their conduct of military operations, particularly the Community Operations for Peace and Development (COPD) and Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP). No more protocols, no more observance of international humanitarian laws, the group added.

Kahit sino na lang pinaghihinalaan na NPA. Lalo na ang mga magsasaka, pinagbibintangang NPA, saka huhulihin at ito-tortyur ng militar. Ang AFP kapag may nasalubong na magsasaka sa bundok, pagbibintangan agad na NPA. With the heightened militarization and military operations in rural areas, misencounters among government troops are likely to happen,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said.

At present, there are seven AFP battalions in Eastern Visayas – 20th, 43rd, 14th, 87th, 52nd, 19th and 78th Infantry Battalions under the 8th Infantry Division, KMP revealed.

SAGUPA-SB, KMP’s chapter in Eastern Visayas said it is common for Community Support Programs (CSP) and Peace and Development Teams (PDT) of the AFP, under Oplan Kapayapaan, to ‘loiter’ and conduct counterinsurgency operations in the hinterlands.

“Government troops encamp and operate in civilian areas,” SAGUPA-SB said.

KMP called on the Duterte government to resume the cancelled peace talks with the NDFP and make way for a possible stand down of forces to deescalate heavy military presence in peasant communities. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Farmers call for genuine land distribution on CARP’s 30th anniversary

Sa ika-tatlumpung anibersaryo ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), nagmartsa ang mga magsasaka at iba pang anakpawis, sa pangunguna ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, patungong Mendiola.

Ipananawagan ng KMP ang tunay na pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka at kinondena naman ang kabiguan ng CARP na  lutasin ang kawalan ng lupa ng nakararaming magsasaka sa bansa.

Dagdag pa rito ay ang pagpapataw ng mga gawa-gawang kaso at pang-aalipusta sa mga magsasaka at mga manggagawa sa kanayunan, ayon sa KMP.

Goons harass farmers’ campout, youth supporters panic

Armed goons harassed a farmers’ campout at Lupang Ramos in Dasmariñas City, Cavite Monday night, causing panic among youth supporters staying for the night, a progressive lawmaker announced.

In an urgent alert, Kabataan Party Representative Sarah Elago said private armed goons fired gun shots in the dead of night, causing University of the Philippines medical students and other youth supporters belonging to Kabataan Southern Tagalog chapter diving onto the ground for fear of being hit.

“[N]akadapa ang lahat kasama ang mga volunteer UP Med students at members ng Kabataan mula Southern Tagalog chapter,” part of Elago’s alert said.

Farmers belonging to the Katipunan ng Lehitimong Magsasaka at Mamamayan sa Lupang Ramos (KASAMA-LR) later reported they heard seven gunshots fired at their direction at around 11 p.m.

The farmers and their supporters are encamped at Barangay Langkaan 1 to defend a 370-hectare land called Lupang Ramos from alleged land-grabbers Nelson Pangilinan and Rudy Herrera.

Condemning the incident, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said Pangilinan and Herrera’s group have been continuously harassing the farmers.

Tension escalated last weekend when Pangilinan’s group physically assaulted KASAMA-LR members, injuring one Rosalinda Tapawan Atienza, 62 years old, KMP said.

Lupang Ramos is reportedly being eyed for procurement and development by Ayala Land Inc. with Pangilinan’s group acting as real estate agents, KMP said.

The Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid-Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) for its part said the farmers’ have started collective land cultivation last year.

The farmers are already benefiting from their collective production work months before Pangilinan arrived and started harassing farmers and claiming the land, the group said.

Lupang Ramos in Dasmariñas City, Cavite. (KMP photo)

Around 50-hectares are already planted with root crops, banana trees and vegetables. KASAMA-LR farmers are also planning to plant corn in the farmland, KASAMA-TK said.

Just yesterday, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Region IV-Provincial Agrarian Reform Office held a dialogue with KASAMA-LR farmers, KMP said.

DAR officials were only able to promise that they would tell off Pangilinan and his group, the group added.

KASAMA-TK said Monday night’s incident was duly reported to the Dasmarinas City police but were told by the police officers on duty they are “afraid and they do not want to get involved in the land dispute.”

The KMP said it will send a Quick Reaction Team to Dasmariñas to assist the beleaguered Lupang Ramos farmers. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)