Statement on the Hacienda Nene Massacre

Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB) strongly condemns the massacre of nine (9) sugarcane workers, including two (2) minors and four (4) women in Hacienda Nene, Purok Pine Tree, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City, Negros Occidental at 9pm last October 20, 2018, marking the 8th massacre during the Duterte regime.

The victims were resting inside a hut when forty (40) unidentified assailants began straffing them. In time for the peasant month celebration, the farmers were fighting off hunger by conducting a land cultivation activity on idle lands owned by the landlord Atty. Barbara Tolentino.

Prior to the event, farmers in Negros Occidental are casually killed because of their participation in land cultivation activities by paramilitary groups that are directly under the command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Clearly, there is no other person to blame than the commanding-in-chief of the AFP, Rodrigo Duterte. He, himself, admitted that he is responsible for the multiple extrajudicial killings in the country. On October 2, according to local reports, during his visit in Northern Samar, he explicitly ordered to intensify the militarization in the province and motivated its troops to commit extrajudicial killings against farmers which resulted to the military encampment in six (6) barangays and more recently, on October 20, twenty-seven armed men from the 20th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army started to camp inside Brgy. Perez, Las Navas, Northern Samar violating the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

Moreover, Capt. Ryann Velez of the 803rd Infantry Brigade explicitly admitted that he is not aware of the provisions under the IHL during a radio interview last October 19, 2018, exposing that the AFP is the number one violator of human rights and IHL.

SAGUPA-SB calls for justice for the nine farmers killed and for the all the victims of militarization in the whole country. We urge the AFP to pull-out their troops from the peasant villages nationwide.

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PEASANT MONTH 2018: Continuing negligence, worsening crisis

October is marked as Peasant Month and it is the third one under the Duterte administration. Since time immemorial in Philippine history, the peasant sector has always been marginalized and oppressed, neglected by the government. Presently, the government’s negligence of the sector’s basic needs has rippled to the people especially to the poor with the skyrocketing price of our staple food – rice.

While the Philippines is an agricultural country, we are facing a rice crisis and is reliant on importing rice to meet the demand. The rice production of the Philippines has been in an all-time low and has reached 0.58% according to World Bank. This is brought about by Duterte’s anti-people neoliberal policies.

According to Bantay Bigas and two other peasant groups, it is Duterte’s neoliberal policy that has led to food insecurity and rice crisis. It is Duterte’s plan to make National Food Authority (NFA) only as a reservoir of rice instead of the agency actively participating in the establishing the supply and prices of rice. Duterte’s plan is giving the private entities such as the landlords and big private rice traders and importers the freedom to trade without the NFA’s intervention while giving these private traders the power to control the market leaving out local producers and products.

The NFA’s cheap procurement of our local palay produce is another reason. The NFA buys rice from our farmers at an average of Php 17.00 per kilogram, which is rather small for our farmers trying to survive through the high cost of commodities. It pushes our local rice farmers to sell their products to private traders who offers to buy their products at an average of Pho 20.00 and then sells it to the market at a very steep price – the average retail price we experienced on August 2018 is at P43.86 and P47.12 a kilo, regular and well-milled rice respectively. These were higher by 15.24 percent and 11.63 percent than last year.

Implementation of a rice tarrification on imports was the government’s resort, lifting the government’s control over the volume of imports while imposing a 35% tariff over it. This will lead to the flooding of imported rice that will kill our local rice industry due to high competition. Even with high tarrification, countries we import from can pay for the higher tax and still sell their surplus rice at a much lower price than that of our local rice.

The 0.58% agricultural output for 2018 is not close to being enough to sustain the needs of more than 100 million Filipinos. The current food insecurity or rice crisis that we face is largely caused by the widespread monopoly of land by a few families. leaving hectares upon hectares of land unutilized to produce the staple needs of the country. In Eastern Visayas, seven out of ten farmers own no land. The low rice production of our local farmers is primarily caused by this topped with the high rent of lands imposed by landlords, high usury, no subsidy or support from the government, the lack of irrigation and other infrastructures, and the intense militarization of the state and even the employment of the landlords of private goons to abuse or kill farmers. These problems result to the low harvest each year and eventually push the farmers to leave the sector to look for other jobs.

The government should start attending to the clamors of the peasant sector for they know how to surpass the crisis the country is currently in. The government and its agencies should implement long term solutions that will ultimately alleviate the agricultural sector which is the backbone of our economy. It is high time to empower the sector and provide the needs of the peasantry: providing all necessary support and passing and implementing a genuine agrarian reform that aims to distribute lands to the tillers.

The Butcher on Trial

the butcher

The butcher, former Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, faced trial for the last time yesterday at the Malolos Regional Trial Court for one of the many human rights violations he has perpetrated. He is currently trialed in the case of the missing two UP students, Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, who disappeared back in 2006 under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya II spearheaded by the butcher himself.

Eastern Visayas, where he was appointed as the commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division, was the centerpiece of the former commander’s brutality and harassment. Since then, multiple human rights violations and murder have been popping up region-wide. Nineteen incidents of extrajudicial killings, twelve incidents of enforced disappearances and twenty-five incidents of torture were reported under his rule. Included herein are two peasant leaders namely, Alberto Malinao, who was killed on May 12, 2005, and the frustrated killing of Dario Tomada who barely escaped an assassination attempt against him inside their house. The peasant communities suffered from food blockades, enforced curfews and regular “census” which were conducted by the military. Activist was either killed or suddenly being snatched out without anyone knowing just because they are seen in anti-government demonstrations or they were heard protesting against the anti-people policies.

Today, peasant communities experience the same treatment from the AFP behind the current counter-insurgency program, Oplan Kapayapaan, which was adopted by the fascist US – Duterte Regime. Within the first year of Duterte, in Eastern Visayas alone, four farmers have already been killed, eight were illegally arrested, two minors were accused of being a member of the NPA, twenty-one farmers falsely presented as NPA surrenderees, peasant communities of four different towns were forced to evacuate because of extreme militarization in their area, a woman was raped in Matuginao, an indigenous people community was subjected to hamletting and many other accounted and unaccounted human rights violations.

The fascist culture of the AFP lingers while thousands of farmers continue to struggle amidst landlessness and negligence of the government to genuinely address people’s demands. Intense militarization has always been the answer of the government to silence the marginalized, thus promoting the impunity culture in the country.

Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas condemns the continuing human rights violations against the peasant communities and urges the government to stop attacking our peasants. We call on everyone to stand against these injustices that are brought by the tyrannical US-Duterte Regime. We should break the silence that was enforced to us and take justice into our hands. Sagupa also believes that former Maj. Gen. Juvito Palparan should be taken accountable for its tremendous acts of crime and thus should be convicted.

Why do we run short of our staple food?

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Philippine agriculture is on the verge of total and major decline due to the moribund system that exists within the country. The agriculture sector contributes the least to the country’s economy despite being the major source of income of the majority of its population. This is expected to decrease in plunging numbers under the control of the present administration and its main operators, the imperialist countries.

The country’s agriculture is undeniably backward manifested through the continuity of the export-oriented and import-dependent character. Capitalists have a strong hold on what farmers should plant while basic agricultural products needed by the Filipinos on a daily basis such as rice, sugar, and vegetables are produced in declining volumes each year.

Recently, the National Food Authority disclosed that stocks of milled rice left are only good for two days. It’s just the start of the year yet the country has little and insufficient stocks left.

Why is this so?

Exploitation of farmers is LEGAL

Since the time when the Philippines joined and submitted itself to the leading capitalist countries through the World Trade Organization, its people experienced perpetual and even worse crises. WTO ensures that only the ruling capitalists will economically rule the world as they steadily make major shifts in third world countries’ economic policies. This is manifested with the presence of countless transnational companies across the country.

The Philippine government, as obedient as they have always been, then implemented laws their masters have mandated them such as Republic Act 8178 or the Agricultural Tariffication Act which lessened the country’s import restrictions in major counts and repealed several laws that once restricted the importation of many agriculture products including onion, potato, cabbage, coffee and other products which can be locally produced in enough volumes. WTO and the Philippine government lured the people through the “global competitiveness” flagship.

Since last year, National Food Authority and Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) have opened possibilities of amending RA 8178 to remove the quantitative restrictions (QR) of rice importation and just like the other agricultural products, place rice under a tariffication system instead. Higher volumes of imported rice will flood the Philippine market, thus competing with the locally-produced rice. After all, LEDAC’s goal is to “develop” transparency and competition – that kind that will kill its very people.

Irrigation problem remains unaddressed

The Philippine government might have neglected one vital requirement in agriculture especially in tropical countries – irrigation. It took decades of fighting for a free and quality irrigation system before it was passed into law.

But why does it remain unaddressed if it’s already a law?

In 2017, a two billion-peso budget was allotted for the supposed implementation of free irrigation. This means that the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will no longer charge the farmers with P4, 250.00 per hectare for irrigation. However, accounts reveal that NIA continues to collect irrigation service fees (ISFs) from farmers nationwide. And what makes the picture worse is that irrigation is, in fact, still inaccessible to most of our farmers.

In Eastern Visayas, one of the country’s top producers of abaca, coconut, and rice, more than half of its agricultural land is non-irrigated. In Samar island alone, more than 60% of the whole agricultural land is still rain-fed. The figure is still conservative since there have been a lot of uncompleted irrigation projects.

Although it should be recognized that the passage of the free irrigation law is a result of the farmers’ long-time struggle, the law will, however, remain dubious so long as the tillers still have to deal with rain-fed land resulting to low volumes of harvests.

Where to plant rice?

The space for rice and other major agricultural products in the country shrinks every year, every administration and every program being implemented. For example, the government does not even regulate the massive conversion of agricultural land to commercial purposes neither did it intervened on the alarming crop conversion happening all over the country. After all, it is the top promoter of these programs. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has its National Greening Program, DA is implementing the High Yielding Variety Program, local governments are promoting agriculture liberalization, and bureaucrat capitalists, as a whole, favor neoliberal policies.

Due to the lack of a genuine agrarian reform and as feudal lords remain immensely powerful, more and more farmers lose their land. International peasant alliance Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reveals that there are already nine out of ten farmers who owns no land. No wonder, the poorest regions in the country are those that are highly-agricultural as in the Eastern Visayas region that ranks top 2 only next to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

According to Ibon Foundation on its book Disaster upon Disaster published in the year 2014, Eastern Visayas has the largest land remaining on leasehold. This proves that the very land tillers actually have no land to plant their crops including rice, not even a lot for their houses.

So, should we import more rice or add tariffs?

Neither of the two will solve the problem.

Since last year, the government has been pushing for the removal of rice importation QR, not because of the rice stocks shortage but because this is what the imperialists want. Much like the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law and all of the neoliberal policies the state approved.

Hence, NFA is faking a rice shortage to alarm the public and push both the people and the government to agree on more rice importation this year, right at the very start of 2018. This, instead, will lead to worse food shortages as products become much unaffordable to most of the consumers. The tariffication system, on the other hand, is bogus and pretentious as bureaucrat capitalists are in fact those behind rice and agricultural products smuggling.

How, then, do I get my rice?

The best way is indeed to win your land.

So long as the feudal lords, giant corporations, and corrupt politicians continue to exploit our very land, we won’t get away from food shortages and extreme crisis nor shall we able to get away from imperialist control.

A united seventy-five percent of the country’s population, along with the positive forces, can win over an anti-poor government as proven in history. Them who’ll never remain silent in times of predicament will fight and win the land. And they have been for decades and decades now.

Millions of farmers to suffer from Duterte’s anti-people TRAIN Law

News Release

February 3, 2018

 

The peasant sector is suffering from the increase of prices of the basic commodities through the implementation of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) that was passed before the year 2017 ended. According to Samahan han Gutdi nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas, the farmers will be the direct victims of the law because of the increase of prices of the everyday commodities despite the low prices of their products and the high cost of capital in maintaining their farms like rent of land, usury and many more.
Based on the studies of SAGUPA-SB, it was found out that a single farmer only earns P60.07 a day or P1, 817.75 every month in Eastern Visayas, that is not enough to sustain an average family of 5 members. This amount is not enough to buy products that prices increased by P5.00 and diesel that is used in farming and other utilities like electricity and transportation.
“It is clear that this is an act of extortion by the Duterte administration. The law he passed does not favor the majority of the Filipino which is the farmers. The small percentage of the population will continue to get richer while the majority, the poor will die”, according to Sagupa SB Secretary General Jun Berino.
The action of the government in giving out P200 as unconditional cash transfers to 10 million poor citizens in the country in 2018 is useless and hypocritical, according to Sagupa SB. It will increase by 300 every month in 2019 and 2020. In this situation, the government admits the TRAIN law will burden the Filipino citizens. “ The small amount that the government is giving is not enough for the millions of farmers who are starving and dying because of this,” added by Berino.
Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program will not benefit the poor regions like Eastern Visayas, the 2nd poorest region in the country, because the concentration of the infrastructure projects will be located in regions with lower poverty incidence rate. This will not help in developing the Philippines which is an agricultural country where the majority of the poor comes from the agriculture sector according to Sagupa SB.

Sagupa SB calls everyone to fight these anti-people programs of the present administration. “In this situation where the government itself is killing its own people, there is no another way than to call out everyone to overthrow this regime” According to Berino

Balaud nga TRAIN ni Duterte, dugang nga pakuri ha mga parag-uma!

News Release

Pebrero 3, 2018

 

Nangangaraba an sektor han mga parag-uma ha paghataas han mga presyo han mga batakan nga papliton pinaagi han Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) nga iginsabalaud antes matapos an tuig 2017. Sumala ha Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas, pinakamaapektuhan hini nga balaud an mga parag-uma tungod han paghataas han presyo han mga adlaw-adlaw nga mga panginahanglan samtang nagpapabilin nga hamubo an presyo han ira mga produkto ngan hataas an ira kinahanglan nga kapital ha pagmentine han ira pag-uma sugad han renta ha tuna, usura ngan iba pa.

Subay han pag-aram han Sagupa SB, nakita la hin average nga P60.07 kada adlaw o P1,817.75 kada bulan an usa nga parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas nga kulang ngan diri sakto para makasapar han gastos hin usa nga average nga pamilya nga may lima nga miyembro. Kulang hin duro ini nga kantidad para ha pagpalit han mga produkto nga singko pesos o sobra pa an igin-umento ngan an pagpalit liwat han gasolina ngan diesel nga kinahanglan ha pag-uma ug sugad man han iba pa nga yutilidad sugad han kuryente ngan pamasahe.

“Klaro nga panhuthot la an ginhihimo hini nga administrasyon ni Duterte. Diri na pabor ha kadam-an han mga Pilipino, han mga parag-uma an balaud nga iya iginpasa. Padayon nga mariko an kaguti-ay nga porsyento han populasyon han nasud samtang namamatay an kadam-an nga mga pobre”, sumala kan Sagupa SB Secretary General Jun Berino.

Impokrito ngan waray man daw pulos an pamaagi han gobyerno nga maghatag hin P200 nga unconditional cash transfers han 10 milyon nga mga pobre ha nasud yana nga 2018 sumala ha Sagupa SB. Mahitaas ini hin P300 kada bulan ha 2019 ngan 2020. Hini nga kamutangan, ginaamin han gobyerno nga papakurian han TRAIN Law an mga Pilipino. “Diri sakto an sensilyo nga kwarta nga ihahatag han gobyerno para ha milyon-milyon nga mga parag-uma nga nagugutom ngan namamatay tungod hini,” dugang pa ni Berino.

Diri naman makaka-benepisyo an mga pobre nga rehiyon sugad han Sinirangan Bisayas nga ika-duha nga pinaka-pobre nga rehiyon ha bug-os nga nasud han programa nga “Build, Build, Build” ni Duterte kun diin naka-konsentra an kadam-an nga magiging mag proyekto hini ha mga rehiyon nga mas hamubo an poverty incidence rate. Ha sugad, diri ini makakabulig ha pag-uswag han Pilipinas nga usa nga agrikultural nga nasud ngan kun diin kadam-an han mga pinaka-pobre nga mga rehiyon in mga agrikultural nga lugar sumala ha Sagupa SB.

Iginpapanawagan naman han Sagupa SB nga atuhan ini nga mga kontra-katawhan nga programa han presente nga administrasyon. “Ha kamutangan kun diin ginpapatay mismo han gobyerno han katawhan han iya nasud, waray na iba nga bubuhaton an katawhan kundi an ipanawagan nga ibagsak ini nga rehimen,” pagmalatumat ni Berino

SAGUPA-SB naglansar hin relief operation ha mga kaapi na organisasyon na parag-uma, ginsundan hin panhaharas han militar

 

Press Release

Pebrero 1, 2018

 

Dida han Enero 21 ngan 29 yana na tuig, nanhatag relief an Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB) ngan kabulig an CERNET INC. ha mga kaapi na organisasyon na parag-uma ha Leyte nga ginbahaan tungod han sunod sunod na mga bagyo nga umagi dinhi ha rehiyon 8. Nakapanhatag hin 200 packs na an sulod, bugas, monggos ngan mga liso nga mga utanon sugad han ampalaya, hantak, pechay, okra ngan tarong nga pwede nira matanom para maging surok han ira pagkaon.

Sumala kan Jun Berino, pagkabuwas han kahuman han panhatag relief ha Sitio Biga-a, mayda umabot na ginkikilala na Alex Mendoza nga kaapi han militar na nagkakampo ha Brgy.Rubas, Jaro, Leyte. Nagbibiling ha mga lider parag-uma ngan nagpipinakiana kun ano na organisasyon an nanhatag han relief ngan nagpipinakiana kun ano it ira organisasyon na amo na an Alang-alang Small Farmers Association (ASFA) nga usa na organisasyon han mga parag-uma.

Dugang pa kan Jun Berino, nagyakan ini na Alex Mendoza ha mga residente han Sitio Biga-a na ini na iyo barangay masusugad hin Marawi.

Dugang pa kan Jun Berino, usa ini na porma han panhaharas han militar ha mga parag-uma komo ginquesuestion an ira mga aktibidad it usa nga militar. Diri la ini makausa nga nahitabo ha nayakan nga barangay kay han naglabay nga tuig, ginharas gihap ini na barangay katapos gihap manhatag relief an SAGUPA.

Ginpapanawagan han SAGUPA-SB na ig-undang an panhaharas han mga militar ha mga parag-uma ngan I-undang gihap an militarisasyon ha kabaryuhan.

Ha kadugangan na mga pakiana, pwede niyo kontakon hi Jun Berino (09066700578)

 

 

Jun Berino
Secretary General, SAGUPA-SB