Left raises hopes Duterte reforms would be radical | Inquirer News

Left raises hopes Duterte reforms would be radical

/ 02:20 AM May 24, 2016

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The expectations of the Left for a radical, left-wing shift in government priorities under a Duterte presidency are rising.

But some militant groups are saying that the incoming President need not look far for solutions to deepening poverty, especially in the countryside.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), a left-wing farmers’ group, said all incoming President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte has to do is push the passage of the proposed Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) that has been pending in the House of Representatives since it was filed by the late labor leader Crispin Beltran along with other members of the militant bloc in the House.


Ireneo Ubarde, secretary general of KMP in Northern Mindanao, said GARB “is the answer to landlessness in the countryside.”


A year after the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, the government started implementing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) that sought to transfer ownership of millions of hectares of agricultural land from big landholders to farmers.

But CARP’s implementation ran into a host of problems ranging from landowner resistance to weak enforcement.

Task Force Mapalad (TFM), a moderate group of farmers demanding a more forceful application of land reform, said it welcomes statements made by Duterte about dismantling vast landholdings.

Solution at hand

Ubarde, however, said the solution to massive poverty in rural areas is staring officials in the face—GARB, which has been sponsored, too, by militant legislators Fernando Hicap, Terry Ridon, Neri Colmenares, Carlos Zarate, Luzviminda Ilagan, Emmi de Jesus and Antonio Tinio.

Jose Rodito Angeles, TFM president, said Duterte’s pronouncements “breathed a new life and guiding light to our unending and, oftentimes, dark quest for social justice.”


A day after the elections, Duterte, in a TV interview, said he is disappointed that “most of the landholdings distributed to tillers just went back to the control of landlords due to the ineffective of CARP.”

Angeles said Duterte was just articulating what thousands of farmers already know.

Farmers’ victories

He said if there were achievements under CARP, “these were mostly won, not through the government’s political will, but through the efforts of peasants who fought with their lives and limbs to reclaim the land they have been tilling for decades.”

TFM also hailed a statement attributed to Duterte that the incoming President would “follow the pattern of socialism” and he is “angry at the oligarchs because they get the fat of the land.”

“If President Rody would follow the socialist path of development, that would mean more equitable distribution of income, wealth and resources by breaking up land monopolies and ending the reign of hacienderos, who counter reforms so they can continue enjoying wealth built from our backs,” said Angeles in the TFM statement.

Ubarde said if GARB becomes law, it will give the government power to “dismantle monopolies.”

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“It is our hope that under his administration, Duterte can introduce the reforms we are seeking that have eluded the poor farmers for so long,” Ubarde said. Jigger J. Jerusalem, Inquirer Mindanao

TAGS: CARP, Communism, communist, farmer, group, Left, Leftist, militant

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