KMP urge Duterte to certify GARB as urgent, resume peace talks

May 17, 2016

Without land reform policy, DAR “a political ornament,”says peasant group


The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today acknowledged presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte’s positive offer of four key cabinet positions including the Department of Agrarian Reform to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“Recognizing the sincerity of the CPP for genuine social change, Duterte is opening key cabinet posts as part of confidence-building measures with the CPP and NDFP, says KMP secretary general Antonio Flores.

In a press conference last Monday, Duterte said that: “Ang ibibigay ko sa Communist Party of the Philippines, open yung DAR, DENR, Labor if they want…”

KMP has earlier welcomed Duterte’s gestures for peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) expressing “high hopes that the peace negotiations would forge a deal on genuine land reform.”

“Without any existing program on land reform and the absence of any direct and clear policy declaration on land reform by the incoming President, the DAR portfolio will only be a political ornament in the Duterte cabinet,” says Flores adding, “as long as there is no new land reform law that exists DAR remains as an instrument of big landlords, perpetuating a bankrupt, anti-peasant agrarian reform.”

To address the land problem, KMP urged Duterte to certify as urgent the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), which is the only pending proposed land reform measure in Congress.

“Likewise, we urge Duterte to immediately resume peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and seal an agreement on social and economic reforms that will advance genuine land reform,” the peasant leader said.

KMP reminded the new government that there is no existing land reform law in the country, and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has no mandate to implement even a bogus land reform after the expiration of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) last June 2014.

“The peasantry is strongly clamoring for a genuine land reform law that will mandate the free distribution of lands to farmers, dismantle haciendas and land monopolies and stop foreign ownership of lands,” says Flores.

KMP noted that Duterte once slammed the expired CARP as “a farce and total failure” and vowed that under his administration “no farmer will be displaced from their land.” KMP challenged Duterte to make his vow concrete by supporting and advancing GARB.” #