Agricultural workers under the national federation Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) will join nationally-coordinated peasant protests led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) against vicious attempts by President Aquino’s minions in Congress to pass economic Charter Change (Cha-Cha) and another extension of the failed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
UMA Acting Chairperson John Milton Lozande said that Cha-Cha and CARPER are being railroaded in Congress to further benefit Aquino’s real bosses – his landlord kind and his foreign imperialist masters. “Aquino has betrayed the Filipino people several times over with DAP, Mamasapano, the land reform travesty that is Hacienda Luisita, and other fatal blunders. The current attempt to pass economic Cha-Cha and another round of CARPER reeks of treason,” said Lozande.
“The 27 tortuous years of CARP already allowed for the legalized landgrab and reconcentration of agricultural lands back to big landlords and foreign agribusiness through non-land transfer schemes such as the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and various agribusiness venture arrangements (AVAs). By easing the remaining protectionist economic provisions in the Constitution, Aquino wants the massive plunder and sell-out of land, natural resources and even media and other cultural outfits to foreign interests,” Lozande said.
Sugar workers under KAISAHAN from Batangas, and the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) from the Aquino-Cojuangcos’ Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac will join the farmers camp-out at the House of Representatives (HOR) starting tonight. Around 200 peasants and farmworkers arrived in Baclaran from Batangas last night and will march to various protest points today before setting-up camp at the HOR. Hacienda Luisita farmers and the rest of the Central Luzon peasant contingent led by the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) will stop at protest points in Angeles City, Porac and San Fernando in Pampanga before joining the HOR camp-out later.
Lozande said that agricultural workers strongly oppose Cha-Cha and CARPER not only due to legal technicalities, referring to the extension of an already dead law in the case of CARPER which expired last year, and the attempt to change the Constitution by inserting the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in certain articles akin to an average legislative proposition without the need for the mandated Constitutional Convention or joint congressional session.
“Cha-Cha and CARPER will kill peasants. It will kill the country’s future,” said Ranmil Echanis, UMA Deputy Secretary General.
“The CARP’s monumental failure to provide land to the tillers is most evident in the growing number of agricultural workers suffering inhuman working conditions and slave wages. Subsistence farmers are now relegated to being mere farmworkers in lands converted to plantations controlled by giant foreign agribusinesses,” said Echanis.
“In Mindanao, hundreds of thousands of hectares of agricultural lands are under the effective control of foreign agribusiness giants engaged in pineapple, banana, rubber and palm oil production. Cha-Cha and CARPER will only aggravate the plight of our farmworkers and agricultural workers all over the country,” said Lozande, who is also the secretary-general of the National Federation Sugar Workers based in Negros, the traditional stronghold of big landlords and sugar barons.
Echanis added: “We call on all patriotic citizens to join us in opposing Aquino’s treasonous attempts to push economic Charter Change.” Peasants will stand vigil at the HOR from June 8 to 9 to register firm opposition to Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 (RBH 1) which can be railroaded by Congress to approve Cha-cha on the third and final reading. UMA supports the enactment of House Bill 252 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) to replace the anti-peasant CARP.
UMA Media Officer
Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
(Agricultural Workers Union)
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