Quezon City, 10 Jan 2013 — Broadest front of agrarian reform beneficiaries, small farmers, rural women, peasant groups, civil society, rank-and-file government workers, and the social and economic justice arm of the Catholic Church, today express their collective dismay at and discontent with the sorry state of agrarian reform under President Aquino.
“There’s already a crisis, paralysis and retreat of agrarian reform, Mr. President. We have endured ordeals to see the realization of the program but we still do not have land and we continue to experience harassments, human rights violations and forced evictions by landowners and their hired goons,” said the broad front in a unity statement signed by close to thirty (30) organizations.
This despite the promises made by P-Noy in his last year SONA to complete the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and during a dialogue with the farmers last June 14.
“We fear that the main cause of the paralysis of agrarian reform is the very de-prioritization of the program. Rather than discuss the effective implementation of CARPER, Malacanang is paving the way for the closing shop of the program through A.O. 34 or the Convergence Initiative,” the broad front said.
“Sec. Gil delos Reyes’ mis-management, lackluster performance and ineffective leadership is a major stumbling block in CARPER’s completion. We have lost faith and confidence in Delos Reyes’ leadership and want him out of DAR,” the group stressed in the statement.
The group further emphasized that their demand for the completion and effective implementation of agrarian reform has political, economic, moral and legal bases under the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
The group urgently demands that the President Aquino to make good his commitment to complete CARPER by 2016 by acting decisively now. Action, after all, speaks louder than words. Agrarian reform is one area of governance that merits his direct intervention and leadership. He cannot afford to stand on the sidelines on this issue. His social contract with the Filipino people calls on him to rise above his class interests.
“Time is running out. The extension period of CARP is a narrow window of opportunity for the country. There is no other time but now for President Aquino to rise to the occasion and finish what his mother started to do and could not finish.
“President Aquino must give landless farmers a fighting chance—to own a piece of land and from the fruits of the land send their children to school, avail of quality health care and put a roof over their heads. These will finally allow them to not only live a life with dignity and pride but equally important, be a productive force that can ensure the country’s sustained agricultural production, growth, and food security.”
“We will remain steadfast and resolute in pushing for agrarian reform. We will claim what is rightfully ours under the law and Constitution.”
Agrarian Reform Broad front members include 25 national farmers’ federation, NGOs, the social and economic justice arm of the Catholic church, government employees of DAR and individuals led by Atty. Christian Monsod of Sulong CARPER, Fr. Marlon Lacal of AMRSP, and Bp. Broderick Pabillo of CBCP-NASSA.
|Broad Agrarian Front Press Conference