Masbate peasants demand govt to enact long-delayed Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill

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By Reynard Magtoto

MASBATE CITY, 16May2017 (BicolToday.com) – Peasant Movement in Masbate demands the government to enact the long-delayed House Bill 555 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill in Congress.

Just yesterday, May 15, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Masbate (KMM) held a picket rally with farmers in different Irrigators Association in front of the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) -MASBATE to call on support and enact House Bill 555 as new law.

Over 30 Masbateños from various organizations and cooperatives joined the picket rally. HB 555 should be supported because it is the answer to long concerns of farmers and fishermen for the free distribution of land and irrigation in rice fields ccording to Charito David, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Masbate (KMM) Chairman.

HB 555 was first proposed at the 14th Congress by former Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran. It was refiled again in the 15th and 16th Congresses by former Anakpawis rep. Rafael Mariano now DAR secretary and Rep. Fernando Hicap.

Because of the desire to have a genuine land reform program for many people and poor farmers, HB 555 was re-filed again at the 17th Congress by Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao.

“In the long decades, CARPER or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms of government is deliberately favors landlords and capitalists, with high fees and land monopoly,” said David.

“There are continuing and intensifying human rights violations and abuses among the farmers. The corresponding benefits for farmers are reaching deeper into oblivion,” he added.

According to David, the created CARPER is just illusion of the government for land reform. “Covering a large hole only to strengthen the counter insurgency in the community and eventually evict the farmers on their farms,” he said.

In Masbate province, many farmers were forced to sell their land and with debts because of costly irrigation charges and other expenses for the requirements imposed by government agencies.

Along with the insistence of the local government to convert lands into eco-tourism, farmers from Deagan Island and Brgy. Yanco in the municipality of Dimasalang are forced to sell their agricultural lands and are fleeing.

David expressed that most lands in the province are armed due to continuing militarization in the countryside. AFP troops continue to intimidate and harass civilians that are ,mostly poor farmers.

Recently, farmers in the municipalities of Cawayan and Milagros feared to go back to their ricefields because the lands are guarded with AFP troops and civilians were killed during the clash between the AFP troops and NPA fighters.

“Among the great forces of KMM, we strongly condemn the rampant militarization in the countryside and exploiting fake agrarian reform by the government,” David said.

“Let HB 555 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill enacted into law to attain the genuine land reform that has long been asking by the farmers not only here in Masbate. The reform and fellow programs in this bill is a big help in solving the continuing armed conflict in the country,” David added.

Anakpawis Partylist urges the Congress to replace the expired CARPER that has historically been proven to have been a bane rather that a boon for the Filipino farmers with a new, genuine, thoroughgoing and truly redistributive land reform program that seeks to break the land monopoly and control of big landlords and foreign entities.

Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill is a radical shift from RA 6657 as well as from other previous agrarian reform laws in the country. Among its major features, the bill proposes free land distribution to all qualified beneficiaries.

When enacted, the new agrarian reform law shall cover all agricultural lands, thus practically rendering land conversion illegal and revoking all previous unjust decrees on exemption and exclusion.

The bill seeks likewise to institutionalize a thoroughgoing program of state support and subsidy to land reform beneficiaries in all the important aspects of agricultural production, including the promotion of cooperativization. [BicolToday.com]

Posted by on May 16, 2017. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines,Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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