KMP urges Duterte to create genuine land reform policy
The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) is taking the offer of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint communists to four key Cabinet positions with a grain of salt, challenging the incoming administration to come up with a clear policy on land reform.
“Without a land reform policy, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) remains a political ornament,” the KMP said in a statement on Tuesday.
Antonio Flores, secretary general of the KMP, said in a phone interview that while their group is not communist, the militant group viewed the offer as a positive development.
READ: Duterte offers key gov’t positions to CPP
“Sa tingin namin maganda ang pag-aalok. Subalit walang kasiguraduhan ng genuine land reform. (The offer is good but there is no assurance of a genuine land reform),” Flores said.
Flores said in offering the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) key posts, Duterte recognizes the sincerity of the CPP for genuine social change and the offer is part of the confidence-building measures with the CPP and its negotiating arm the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
READ: Duterte: 4 Cabinet posts open to Reds
Duterte in a press conference on Monday offered posts in the DAR, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Labor and Employment.
KMP earlier welcomed Duterte’s gestures for peace negotiations with the NDFP expressing “high hopes that the peace negotiations would forge a deal on genuine land reform.”
“As long as there is no new land reform law that exists DAR remains as an instrument of big landlords, perpetuating a bankrupt, anti-peasant agrarian reform.” Flores said.
The KMP, instead, is asking Duterte to certify as urgent the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), the only pending proposed land reform measure in Congress.
KMP reminded Duterte that there is no existing land reform law in the country, and the DAR has no mandate to implement even a bogus land reform after the expiration of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) last June 2014.
“The peasantry is strongly clamoring for a genuine land reform law that will mandate the free distribution of lands to farmers, dismantle haciendas and land monopolies and stop foreign ownership of lands,” said Flores.
KMP noted that Duterte once slammed the expired CARP as “a farce and total failure” and vowed that under his administration “no farmer will be displaced from their land.” KMP challenged Duterte “to make his vow concrete by supporting and advancing GARB.” RAM/rga