More challenges under Duterte’s 2nd year; farmers ready for SONA protests

July 17, 2017


Peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said they are preparing for the worst under the second year of Duterte’s presidency. “We have seen a preview of the worst things to come. We know what to do – we fight and defend our rights, now and always.”

“Things are taking a turn for the worst under Duterte. His first year is marked with unfulfilled promises, promotion of neoliberal policies and militarism. His declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao is enough reason for people to mobilize and protest his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24,” said Danilo Ramos, the newly-elected chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

“We will make President Duterte accountable for his unfulfilled promises. We will continue to assert genuine land reform, free land distribution and the lifting of Martial Law. We will continue to defend our democratic rights in the face of Duterte’s all-out war,” the KMP leader said.

“Instead of seriously addressing the People’s Agenda that was presented to his administration last year, Duterte allowed his economic managers to come up with ‘Dutertenomics’ that essentially perpetuates pro-foreign and pro-business neoliberal policies. The people’s clamor for genuine land reform and national industrialization fell on deaf ears. The peace negotiations that are supposed to come up with a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) were stalled and not gaining any headway due to the GRP’s dogged determination to force a ceasefire and lack of sincerity in the peace process,” Ramos said.

Ramos added, “President Duterte can either choose to genuinely side with the people or face wider mass protests and resistance against his presidency.”

Peace talks, CASER relevant and needed
The KMP leader said the peace negotiations and the forging of a CASER is still important.

“The GRP should do its task and cooperate with the NDFP in accelerating the peace talks and the CASER. But it seems that what the GRP have accomplished so far is to delay talks and disagree with many of the pro-people proposals forwarded by the NDFP.”

“Although the GRP peace panel agreed in principle to free land distribution, farmers know that we can only realize this through our struggle and assertion. Dismantling land monopoly is the first key step in achieving genuine land reform and rural development,” Ramos said.

KMP said it will mobilize tens of thousands in a nationally-coordinated protest coinciding with Duterte’s SONA.
Prior to the SONA, farmers organizations will launch actions ranging from occupation of lands, protest camp-outs, barricades and Kadenang Magsasaka in towns, provinces and regions.

“Farmers, fisherfolk and agricultural workers nationwide will link arms and demand genuine land reform,” said Antonio Flores, KMP secretary general.

On July 23, farmers will lead in the State of the Peasant Address outside the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Contingents from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog will proceed to the National Capital Region to join the multisectoral mobilization on July 24.