Change is coming – the call for genuine change has been the rallying call of the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte in its first 100 days. However, the conditions that are still prevalent have prompted the Filipino people to take a second look at the underpinnings of such a call. Is it change for the wider masses or change for a privileged few?
The case of the Filipino farmer is most alarming. Last September alone, at least six peasant leaders were killed. Four farmers, were massacred in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija on September 3. A few days after on September 7, Ariel Diaz, a peasant leader of Isabela was killed in his rice field. On September 20 Arnel Figueroa, a local peasant leader in Busuanga Island, Coron, Palawan was shot dead by a security guard of the Bureau of Animal Industry.
For decades now, farmers who have been fighting to own the land they till have been harassed, murdered and massacred. Lest we forget the Escalante Massacre in Negros Occidental on September 20, 1985 during Martial Law under the rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos; the Mendiola Massacre in Manila on January 22, 1987 when democracy was supposedly regained under the administration of Corazon Aquino and the Hacienda Luisita Massacre in Tarlac on Novermber 16, 2004 under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The country’s peasantry; farmers, fisher folk even cowboys who work, nurture and depend on the land to produce the food we all need day in and day out, and all our life are actually treated, looked upon and kept in a social class at the bottom rung of Philippine society. They are the backbone of the Philippine economy yet the long-time oppressive arrangement in conditions of today continues to hold them down by the stark absence of genuine land reform for the tillers of the land.
October is Peasant Month, let us celebrate with them by supporting their call for security in their communities against land grabbing, development aggression and wanton killings of their leaders, and group members by suspected government agents and military vigilante groups. Stop the killings!
Let us celebrate with them by supporting their call for genuine land reform, better support services from government for irrigation, for education and information to better sustainable agricultural systems and environmental protection and conservation, and marketing that shall support our common sustenance as the people of an independent and sovereign nation.
Let us celebrate with them by supporting their assertions to organize their ranks for their welfare as a democratic and progressive sector in the negotiations for peace between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP/NDFP/NPA), and call for the respect of their rights as Filipino Citizens and as members of humanity. # nordis.net