More than 1,000 farmers led by the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today trooped to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court demanding the release of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, top leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and urged both the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to resume the stalled peace negotiations.
KMP chair Rafael Mariano said the “unconditional dropping of charges and immediate release of the Tiamzons is in compliance with previous agreements, particularly the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees that will surely pave the way for the resumption of the peace negotiations.”
“In February 2011, both parties have already begun talking on the second substantive agenda, social and economic reforms that include genuine agrarian reform and rural development. Since then, the peace talks did not move an inch,” says Mariano.
However, the peasant leader said “the Aquino government’s conscious refusal to comply with previous agreements has been its most convenient excuse to bring the talks to a standstill.”
“Obviously, the landlord President doesn’t want to talk about land distribution,” says Mariano.
He said the substantive agenda on social and economic reforms is “the heart of the peace negotiations.”
“The substantive agenda on social and economic reforms seeks to address landlessness and maldevelopment. Addressing landlessness is tantamount to addressing the roots of the armed conflict,” Mariano said.
Mariano chided the Aquino government’s continuing detention of NDFP peace consultants, failure to comply with previous agreements, and refusal to resume the peace negotiations will not solve the escalating civil war in the countryside.
“The Aquino government’s continuing sell-out of the country’s national patrimony, global auction of lands to foreign investors, and looming dictatorship will definitely result into the intensified peasants’ resistance in the countryside,” the peasant leader warned.
“Aquino’s ouster from power and genuine system change will pave the way for the realization of the Filipino peasantry’s long-standing demand to break the monopoly of lands by big landlords and the free distribution of lands,” Mariano said.###