Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Farmers condemn abuse in Hacienda Yulo, call to junk CARPer

Farmers condemn abuse in Hacienda Yulo, call to junk CARPer
A statement from the Kilusang Mangbubukid ng Pilipinas
The Peasant Movement of the Philippines

Nearing a year after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ or CARPer into law RA 9700 on August 7, 2009 and the violent demolition of the farmers’ camp-out at the House of Representatives, farmers in Hacienda Yulo, Calamba, Laguna have abused anew as elements of the PNP Regional Mobile Group (RMG) and security guards under Yulo’s architect Dan Calvo attempted to demolish the formers’ barricade against illegal cutting of coconut trees and land use conversion.

“The haciendero-landlords Yulo is on offensive stance as election fever is withering out and CARPer is at their disposal. But amidst their terror tactics and violent arrests, farmers in Hacienda Yulo whose ancestors cultivated the lands since the American period stood their ground and preserved their barricade,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General in a press statement.

“They were the same farmers who joined us at the camp-out against CARPer at the House of Representatives on May 22 last year and on May 21, they were nearly dispersed. KMP together with our 15 regional chapters condemn this fascist attack on the struggling farmers of Hacienda Yulo,” he added.

Reports from KMP Southern Tagalog chapter Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) and Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan sa Sitio Buntog (SANAMA – Buntog) said that government forces were actually under the command of Yulo’s architect and security officer Dan Calvo. He ordered the arrests of farmers and supporters which the police adhered to. The farmers who defended their legitimate barricading were charged with grave coercion and disobedience, alarm and scandal, and direct assault.

“The landlords are using the mercenary government forces and deploy violence on their hope to scare farmers. They have no legal basis whatsoever for their mission, they followed Calvo’s orders who is a private individual, the farmers have documents from the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) stating that the lands are still on dispute and the Philippine Cocounut Authority (PCA) has promised to investigate the illegal cutting of trees, yet, they commenced on their attempt to disperse the farmers’ barricade,” said Ramos.

KASAMA-TK said that the 6 arrested farmers were charged on the weekend though there were no clear basis for the arrests. Yesterday, they had a dialogue with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and commissioner Atty. Jose Manuel Mamauag reacted that the rules of engagement were not followed and suprised as a private individual had a command over government forces. He promised to investigate the incident and process of arrests.

To further campaign the issue, KMP is planning a fact-finding and solidarity mission on the area, to be joined by church groups, professionals, advocates and supporters. The group is also set to hold forums on different church and schools regarding the agrarian struggle in Hacienda Yulo.

The groups also said that this happened as the Arroyo government passed CARPer which the farmers see as pro-landlord and anti-peasant.

“The very initial anti-peasant provision of CARPer is the tenant-farmer is obliged to acquire an attestation from the landlord that he or she is indeed a tenant on the lands. But on the Hacienda Yulo case, the Yulo’s would totally oppose as they are actually displacing farmers, thus, CARPer is useless and oppressive for the farmers as it serves the interests of the landlords,” said Ramos.

Farmers in Hacienda Yulo have cultivated the lands since 1910 when Taal volcano erupted and farmers from Batangas were forced to migrate to nearby provinces. They have developed the lands to productive farms for rice, corn, coconut, coffee and other crops. The landlord Madrigals claimed ownership of the lands and allowed them to be tenants. On 1920, the lands were owned by an American G. Milne, thus, farmers were displaced and the lands were converted to sugarlands. He founded the Canlubang Sugar Estate. He left the country in the 1940s and gave control to his administator Jose Yulo. Since then, the Yulo’s have extracted land rent and systematically displaced farmers to implement land use conversions (LUCs).

“Even history would tell that the Yulos do not legitimately own the lands, the farmers are the legitimate owners of the land as they were the ones who developed it. They have become victims of American colonization and local feudal domination by the Yulos. Land reform programs such as Marcos PD 27, Cory Aquino’s CARP and Arroyo’s and president-apparent Noynoy Aquino’s CARPer would surely result no fundamental reforms for the farmers,” Ramos said.

KMP said that they are now expecting more cases of agrarian unrest as the implementation of CARPer is doomed to serve the interests of the landlords and hacienderos. The apparent succeeding government of Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Cojuangco-Aquino would be notorious in displacing farmers and LUCs as the Cojuangco-Aquinos have done in Hacienda Luisita.

“This is what we are drumming up during the campaign period that if Noynoy wins, agrarian unrest would be on newer heights as he is the present symbol of local feudalism and puppetry to US imperialism. We expect newer harassments against farmers in lands in Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan as it is the site of the planned MRT 7 project, in Montalban, Rizal as it is the site of Pamintinan Cave Tourism Project, in San Miguel, Bulacan where lands are being grabbed by Rep. Luis Villafuerte, in Fort Magsasay Military Reservation where the military themselves are displacing farmers and other parts of the country where landlords and foreign businessmen are eyeing lands developed by farmers,” said Ramos.

“We challenge Noynoy Aquino to junk CARPer as he promised fundamental reforms and instead pass the House Bill 3059 or Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill or GARB. We also dare him to immediately distribute Hacienda Luisita to prove himself that he is for the people,” called Ramos.