Weekend before Duterte’s first SONA: Thousands of farmers to hold camp at DAR

July 22, 2016

Rural people’s caravan for land and peace

By KMP

Days before the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte, thousands of farmers, indigenous peoples from Mindanao, Bicol and Southern Luzon provinces are now joining a national caravan for land and peace.

“Caravan participants or lakbayanis have crossed the lands and seas to raise the most urgent peoples’ issues that need to be addressed by President Duterte in his first SONA. This is our way to raise our concerns to the new administration,” said KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores.

“We expect the SONA mobilization on Monday to be the biggest-ever SONA rally that we will mount to challenge the new administration to deliver its promise of change,” the peasant leader said.

“Farmers want President Duterte to strongly support and stand by Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael ‘Ka Paeng’ Mariano’s policy directive that no farmer shall be displaced from the land,” Flores said. “We will also urge the President to certify as urgent the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill or GARB now filed as House Bill 555 at the House of Representatives and support the creation of a genuine small coconut farmers’ fund that will ensure coconut farmers’ control and utilization of the coco levy fund.”

The caravan started in Davao City and traversed to Eastern Visayas.

The lakbayanis are now in Bicol region, by tonight they will reach Los Banos, Laguna and are expected to arrive in Metro Manila tomorrow wherein they will be welcomed by NCR-based people’s organization in a solidarity gathering at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

Starting tomorrow night, the lakbayanis will hold camp at different offices along the Elliptical Circle in Quezon City including Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Department of Agriculture (DA) and National Housing Authority (NHA).

On the morning of July 25, they will join the people’s SONA mobilization and will engage in dialogues with national government agencies next week. ###

Reference: Antonio Flores, KMP SecGen, 0921-2726682