In the Philippines, Filipino farmers and peasant women remain landless and continue to suffer from feudal and semi-feudal exploitations. Under the Duterte regime, monopoly control on vast tracks of lands by big hacienderos and compradors is intensifying.
It is apparent that the Duterte regime is neo-liberal and its agricultural and economic program, unchanged from past regimes, liberalized and export-oriented, thus, its promotion of plantation expansion via various forms of agri-business ventures arrangement (AVA), as well as, destructive mining, at the cost of displacing tens of thousands of Filipino farmers and peasant women from their lands.
At present, Filipino peasant women increasingly mobilizing to demand free distribution of land and are presently holding their “bungkalan” (cultivation) campaigns to alleviate them from acute hunger and poverty. Amihan tinted the cases of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, sugarlandias in Negros and Batangas, ricelands in Nueva Ecija and Central Luzon, coconut lands in Southern Tagalog, Bicol and Eastern Visayas and vast plantations in Mindanao.
Amid pandemic, land grabbing and abuses against farmers, peasant women, agricultural workers, indigenous people and fisherfolk continue. Within the first month of the year, peasant communities in Laguna, Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Panay and other provinces experience displacement and rights abuses from the hands of the landlords, private armed groups (PAGs) and government armed forces.
As farmers across the country grasp their exploited and oppressed condition, they are sparked to self-organize, asserting rights to land and livelihood and contributing to the expansion and consolidation of the peasant movement in the country. As the state, firm in preserving landlessness as economic base, poor peasants fall usual victims to fascist attacks and human rights abuses.
At present, more than 300 victims of extra-judicial killings in the country are farmers, among them are 44 women. Moreover, 81 peasant women, where most or 64 among them were imprisoned under the Duterte administration and deprived them of their rights as women, mothers to their children and peasants advancing rights to land and livelihood. This is under the implementation of Duterte’s counter-insurgency program “Oplan Kapayapaan” , Memorandum Order No. 32, de facto martial law in Mindanao and the recent enacted Terror Law.
We blame all this anti-peasant rule to Duterte’s puppetry to China & US imperialism, that dominates the political and economic affairs in the country. Duterte and bureaucrats and former military officials are champions of neo-liberalism and fascism, thus, it requires strong political will to uphold the people’s interests for genuine agrarian and national democratic reforms in the country.
Finally, we echo the call for every poor peasant in the country to unite and intensify struggle for land and life as it is the only path to emancipation and genuine democracy.
Photo by SABAKAN-Amihan Bohol