Friday, October 09, 2009

Farmers hold protest rally in Davao City

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - Militant farmers on Friday rallied in Davao City in Mindanao, decrying so-called "anti-farmers" resolutions in the House of Representatives.

The farmers staged a protest and scattered trash in front of the congressional office of House Speaker Prospero Nograles. The group is protesting Nograles' House Resolution Number 737, which proposes for a 100 percent foreign ownership of Philippine lands and the 5–year extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

"Under the watch of Speaker Nograles, farmers have been betrayed then again. The HR 737 paves the way for wholesale land grabbing and unbridled plunder of our natural resources," Pedro Arnado, regional spokesperson of the Anakpawis Partylist and chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, said in a statement.

He said the HR 737 is an amendment of the remaining protectionist provisions of the 1987 Constitution specifically of Article 12, Section 7 which states that only Filipinos and Filipino-owned corporations can own private lands and utilize resources.

Arnado said: "Under his behest and armed with marching orders from Malacanang, Nograles banged the gavel for the passage of a futile land reform program, a version containing more anti-farmer provisions as compared to the old CARP.”

Arnado said the new CARP provides several onerous provisions such as the increase of land payments from 30 percent to 50 percent, encourages land conversion to favor foreign agribusiness corporations, and allows landlords to name their own beneficiaries.

"Instead of addressing the needs of his constituents in Davao, Nograles acts in favor of the interest of the transnational foreign corporations. This is in detriment to the rural poor and of our national patrimony," Arnado said.

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