Peasants rejoice as Congress fails to vote on proposed Cha-Cha

The farmers and other groups blocked the gates of House of Representatives to prevent Congressmen from voting in favor of Charter Change. (Photo by Ritche Salagado/ Bulatlat.com)
The farmers and other groups blocked the gates of House of Representatives to prevent Congressmen from voting in favor of Charter Change. (Photo by Ritche Salagado/ Bulatlat.com)

“The so-called foreign investment to be brought by economic Cha-cha is only for the benefit of the hacienderos and big businesses and not for the Filipino people.”

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Peasants from different parts of Luzon who camped outside the House of Representatives were elated as Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 (RBH 1), or Charter change (Cha-Cha) was not put into a vote on Wednesday night, June 10.

In its Twitter account, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) declared a victory of the farmers and the people who registered strong opposition against Cha-cha.

kmp_twit_chacha

Since June 8, peasants led by KMP have camped-out at the gates of Congress, as ruling party lawmakers began to railroad amendments for the key economic provisions in the Charter.

“The so-called foreign investments to be brought by economic Cha-cha is only for the benefit of the hacienderos and big businesses and not for the Filipino people,” said KMP national chairperson Rafael Mariano.

The farmers said they are the ones who will suffer most once Cha-cha is approved, as it would open the country’s resources to more foreign ownership.

Yesterday, June 10 also marked the 27th year of Republic Act 6657, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which was promulgated under President Corazon Aquino. The farmers said they were also vigilant against moves to rush the passage of another extension of the CARP Extension with Reforms (Carper).

Several progressive groups joined the farmers on Wednesday morning, and blocked the south and north wing of Congress, in spite of attempts by policemen to stop them.

Land grabbing, Carper extension

The farmers lamented how they still suffer from landlessness with the 27-year old CARP.

In Cagayan, the certificates of land ownership award (CLOA), certificates of land title (CLT), and emancipation patents (EPs) that were distributed under CARP are being revoked and farmers are being evicted from their lands, said Isabelo Adviento, coordinator of the Danggayan dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley (Danggayan), a regional peasant organization that joined the June 10 rally.

The farmers and other groups blocked the gates of House of Representatives to prevent Congressmen from voting in favor of Charter Change. (Photo by Anne Marxze Umil/ Bulatlat.com)
The farmers and other groups blocked the gates of House of Representatives to prevent Congressmen from voting in favor of Charter Change. (Photo by Anne Marxze Umil/ Bulatlat.com)

Even those who have fully paid the amortization were being evicted, and the land that they have improved and tilled were returned to the landlords, Aviendo said.

He said in one of their dialogues, an official of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Cagayan Valley claimed that they made a mistake in issuing the certificates, which they now had to revoke.

“They give the farmers an option to become a tenant. If they (farmers) don’t want to be a tenant, they are evicted, said Adviento.

From Bataan, Jennifer Alombo, president of the Riverside Fisherman Association in Lamao village (Risifal) in Limay town, said farmers and fishermen are threatened to be displaced from their lands because of the on-going coal-fired power plant project by the San Miguel Corporation.

Alombo said the 381 hectares of land is covered by CARP. However, farmers, even the older ones, still do not have their CLOAs.

Del Felipe, 43, from Cutcut village in Tarlac, a member of the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), is among the farmers who have been benefiting in the collective tillage in Hacienda Luisita. However, what she earns from the half hectare land which she and her husband till is still not enough for her whole family. She is a mother of four.

She pins her hopes on the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill being proposed by Makabayan bloc lawmakers.

“Only when the land we are tilling becomes our own, then will we feel comfort in our lives. Carp and Carper did not make our lives better,” said Felipe, who had been in the peasant camp-out since June 8. ()

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