Katribu slams palace ads: The “plight of peasants and indigenous peoples disputes PGMA accomplishment”
January 24, 2010 in Featured
Quezon City — KATRIBU Partylist lambasts the Presient Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) administration for going on an extravagant advertising spree above protests of peasants and indigenous peoples against widespread poverty and landlessness across the land.
“The plight and present condition of peasants and indigenous peoples dispute the accomplishments PGMA brags about,” KATRIBU President Beverly Longid said in a press statement.
The two-page newspaper advertisements of the government’s Philippine Information Agency (PIA) aims to project the so-called accomplishments of the administration.
According to Longid,”It is very insensitive of the President to be thinking about ads while poor peasants and indigenous peoples are right in front of the Malacanang gates, demanding land and justice.”
“It is a callous and costly way to put on record the lies being peddled by the administration,” added Longid in reaction to PIA head Conrado Limcauco’s statement defending the advertisements.
Thousands of peasants from all over Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon converged today in the historic Mendiola Bridge, culminating the Lakbayan ng Anakpawis para sa Lupa at Katarungan.
The 10-day march, the first of its kind, was held in commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre during the Aquino administration where 13 peasants were killed.
Legacy of landlessness
Longid doubted the significance of the figures on land distribution reported by the Arroyo administration in the advertisements. “How can the government claim that conditions in the countryside are now better off when 7 out of 10 peasants still do not own land?”
Longid also questioned the reported figures on ancestral domain and land distribution, revealing that only about 8% of the 7.5 million hectares of ancestral domains was registered with the Registry of Deeds as of 2008. But registered or not, the titles the government claimed to have distributed do not in any way afford full protection to the right of indigenous peoples to own their ancestral land and domain, Longid added.
“The legacy which the Arroyo administration will leave behind is one of widespread landlessness and massive destruction of the environment through large-scale mining, logging, mega-dams and land conversions.”
On the other hand, Longid hailed the peasants who marched to Mendiola saying that the long march is as symbolic and historic as the Mendiola bridge because it is a reminder of the unfinished struggle of peasants and indigenous peoples for justice and genuine agrarian reform. “Indigenous peoples marched in solidarity with the peasants because they share the same historic fight,” she said. # nordis.net