Farmers, peasant leaders gather in Bicol to demand free land distribution

LEGAZPI CITY – More than a thousand farmers and peasant leaders from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will gather in Legazpi City, Albay in Bicol region on July 12 to 13 for the national congress of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the largest peasant organization in the country.

Peasant leaders from KMP’s 67 chapters from 15 regions nationwide will join the national confab.

“We are conducting our national congress at a time wherein local peasant struggles nationwide to dismantle big landholdings and haciendas are gaining ground. This is our response to the continuing land monopoly and lack of genuine agrarian reform that perpetuates landlessness of farmers and poverty in countryside,” said Antonio Flores, secretary general of the KMP.

Among the main demand of the national activity is genuine land reform in coco lands and the realization of free land distribution which was agreed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) during the previous rounds of formal peace talks. The return of the P75-B coco levy fund to small coconut farmers will also be among the main demand of farmers.

Land reform advocates including agrarian reform secretary Rafael Mariano, National Anti-Poverty Commission lead convenor Liza Maza, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao and Kilusang Mayo Uno leader Jerome Adonis will join the public opening ceremonies of the KMP Congress.

According to Norberto Autor, chairman of Kilusang Magbubukid sa Bikol (KMB), majority of the delegates are from Bicol region.

“The national confab is important to Bicolano farmers to address their land disputes and other agricultural issues. It is also an opportunity to build stronger chapters in the six provinces in the region,” Autor said. (  

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