Rally behind CASER, free distribution of land – Anakpawis to farmers

Farmers' protest on 30th Anniversary of Mendiola Massacre.Farmers' protest on 30th Anniversary of Mendiola Massacre.

On resumption of GRP-NDF peace talks, nearing ceasefire declaration
Rally behind CASER, free distribution of land – Anakpawis to farmers

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao urged the peasant sector in the country to rally behind the working draft of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) for the fourth round of the peace talks. The NDFP draft primarily pushes for “free distribution of land” to farmers and rural industrialization as stated on Section 7, of Part I, Declaration of Principles, “the Parties realize the need for immediate common and separate/unilateral measures to undertake agrarian reform in order to dismantle land monopoly and to distribute land to the tillers for free.”

“We urge traditional farmers’ organization, irrigators associations, municipal, city and provincial farmers associations and rural-based groups to support the NDFP CASER as it sincerely pushes for the welfare of poor peasants in the country, as well as, genuine development in the countryside,” Casilao said.

The lawmaker also urged officials of local government units (LGUs) in the provinces to support the draft agreement. He also stressed that the socio-economic reforms agenda of the government (GRP) – NDFP peace talks is an opening for fundamental reforms in the country and to address the root causes of the armed conflict involving the New People’s Army (NPA).

“Majority of the NPA are farmers who were victimized by displacement, feudal and semi-feudal forms of exploitation, driven to bear arms to fight oppression and exploitation,” Casilao said.

The NDFP CASER draft also promotes Rural Industrialization on Article X, of Agrarian Reform and Rural Development under Part III, Developing the National Economy. Section 1 states “the provision of more farm technicians, agricultural credit to the tillers, post-harvest facilities, marketing agencies, irrigation systems, and farm-to-market roads shall be an integral part of the agrarian reform program.”

“The peace talks remain to serve as an opportunity towards a just and lasting peace in the country, an NDFP-versioned agreement on socio-economic reforms will certainly benefit the rural population that is more than half of the country’s, alongwith, we call for a stop to continued killing of farmers and militarization of communities in the countryside,” Casilao said. ###