Onward the continuing struggle for genuine agrarian reform!
Long Live International Solidarity!
Joint message of solidarity from the Kilusang Magbubukid ngPilipinas (KMP) and the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC)
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) convey our most militant salute to the peasants, led by the Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA), in Sukumalya village, Rumpin district, Bogor regency in West Java province, Indonesia on its 7th year of unwavering struggle to defend their land. We strongly condemn the Jokowi government of Indonesia and its military, especially the National Air Force of Indonesia (TNI AU), for the harassment and continuing threats against Sukumalya peasants who are resisting state-sponsored land grabbing.
In 2007, the National Air Force of Indonesia shot one peasant and two others were abducted (one of them is a national committee member of AGRA) in its attempt to evict Sukumalya peasants to give way for the construction of the Air Force base. But despite this, the people of Sukumalya village are resolutely defending 1,070 hectares of land being claimed by the Air force. We are with you in your struggle to defend your ancestral land. Never give up the fight to defend your land! Your ancestors resisted the Dutch colonial rule and have defended the same land you’ve been fighting for. The KMP and APC likened the struggle in Sukumalya village to San Isidro village, Laur town of Nueva Ecija province in the Philippines where peasants are struggling against the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) claiming ownership of 3,100 hectares. In 1930s, farmers were already cultivating the lands at FMMR.
But in 1991, the base of the Philippine Army (PA) 7th Infantry Division was moved in the contested 3,100-hectare land in Laur, Nueva Ecija. About 6,000 peasants live and are cultivating the land in San Isidro village. Like Sukumulya village, the people of San Isidro village were harassed and intimidated. On October 25, 2008, soldiers from PA 7th Infantry Division demolished 34 houses in the village. This was done after the farmers attended the caravan, led by KMP, to protest bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in Manila. But the farmers were able to rebuild their homes and remained in their land. Up to now, peasant communities are militarized, soldiers camped in Barangay (village) halls sowing fear and terror. But the people of San Isidro village remain steadfast in their struggle. Through their strong unity and militant struggle, the peasants in San Isidro village were able to keep on cultivating their lands. Led by the Alliance of Farmers in Central Luzon (AMGL), the regional chapter of KMP, farmers in San Isidro village are actively campaigning for the passage of Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) proposed by Anakpawis Partylist. They believe that only GARB would pave way for free land distribution and security from displacement.
On January 22, while AGRA and its members are celebrating the 7th year of Sukumalya’s continuing struggle against the land grabbing of National Air Force of Indonesia, the KMP on the other hand has mobilized 2,000 peasants to commemorate the 28th year of Mendiola Massacre. The KMP is holding the Aquino government liable for continuing denial of justice for the victims of Mendiola Massacre that happened in 1987, under the administration of his mother, the late President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino. Joining today’s protest from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Quezon City to Mendiola (near MalacaÃ±ang Palace) in Manila are farmers affected by massive state and corporate land grabbing — farmers from 3,000 hectare Araneta Estate in San Jose Del Monte Bulacan, the 2,000-hectare Hacienda Dolores in Porac Pampanga, the 40,000-hectare Yulo King Ranch in Coron, Palawan, the 8,000-hectare Hacienda Looc in Batangas and the 6,000-hectare Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. Ultimately, the best hope for genuine agrarian reform still lies in the peasants’ continuing militant and collective struggle and the resolute commitment to wage anti-feudal, anti-fascist and anti-imperialist struggles together with other sectors that are striving to build a truly sovereign, democratic and progressive society.
Long live AGRA!
Long live KMP!
Long live APC!
Long live international solidarity!