KMP to Duterte: Begin genuine land reform, coco levy funds release
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) urged President Rodrigo Duterte to start a genuine land reform program and the immediate return of the coco levy funds to farmers after he failed to address the said issues in his first State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“The lack of mention of land reform and the coco levy funds in the president’s Sona is a call on farmers to rely mainly in the peasant mass movement and struggle, including the peace negotiations, in asserting their rights to the land, “ KMP Chair Joseph Canlas said in a statement on Tuesday.
The KMP called on Duterte to address the issues after a policy directive on land reform and the return of the multibillion coco levy funds were not discussed in the Sona.
“We urge Duterte to heed farmers’ plea for a piece of land and return the coco levy funds to small coconut farmers for the achievement of a just and lasting peace,” he stated.
The KMP also expressed hopes on the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), saying that a genuine agrarian reform and rural development will address the roots of war.
“Aside from free land distribution, the NDFP draft comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms recognizes the rightful claim of peasants and agricultural workers to the coco levy funds, sugar amelioration fund and tobacco excise tax,” Canlas said.
He stated that the resumption of peace negotiations will benefit the Filipino peasantry and the rural poor, whose fight for reforms have led to violent encounters.
“Farmers are taking the road of armed revolution mainly due to the continuing land monopoly and land-grabbing by big landlords and plantations, and the lingering semi-feudal exploitation,” Canlas said. Ma. Czarina Fernandez, INQUIRER.net trainee/RAM
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