MAGTAGUMPAY! | PH farmers unite to advance their struggle towards victory

LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY—More than 1,400 farmers convened during the 8th National Congress of the broadest alliance of the peasant sector in the country with more than two hundred thousand members, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). Dubbed as “MAGTAGUMPAY! Palawakin at patatagin ang Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas! Paigtingin ang pakikibaka para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa at pambansang industriyalisasyon!”, farmer-representatives from the fifteen different regions in the Philippines gathered to forward their call for a free land distribution and an end to land monopolization.

The said congress was attended by Agrarian Reform Sec. and former KMP National Chairperson Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano, National Anti-Poverty Commission Lead Convenor Liza Maza, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao and Kilusang Mayo Uno Sec. Gen. Jerome Adonis who gave their solidarity messages during the first day of the event.

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A press conference was held on the second day of the congress. (Photo from NNARA Youth)

 

Farmers harvest victories; ready for greater struggles

After decades of fighting and calling for the downfall of the feudal lords After decades of fighting and calling for the downfall of the feudal lords in the country, farmers have already gained countless victories and are yet to gather a lot more as they continue holding organized mass actions in all of the regions in the Philippines according to the national peasant alliance.

International League of Peoples’ Struggle Chairperson Jose Maria Sison, in his solidarity message, said that farmers through the leadership of KMP remained intact and are now even stronger despite continuous threats from the despotic landlords and military troops which includes harassment, intimidation and killings of farmer-activists. National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants Wilma Austria-Tiamzon and Benito Tiamzon also expressed their highest salute to KMP for always pioneering the need for a strong peasant movement in the country.

It can be recalled that Hacienda Luisita have recently been placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which will pave the way for the distribution to farmers who for a long time fought for their land grabbed by the Cojuangcos. The organized mass action in Lapanday – MARBAI also led to a fruitful harvest. Just this year, irrigation was declared free and is already being implemented by the National Irrigation Authority (NIA). Agrarian Reform Secretary Mariano also passed countless administrative orders in favor of the farmers in his first year of service, but these, according to him, are still limited as landlords holding big positions in the government actively interrupts the full institutionalization of these orders.

Mariano, in his speech, reiterated that there is a need for the farmers to push the present reactionary government to give in to their demands. “All of the victories we harvested are the fruits of our never-ending struggle”, Mariano said.

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DAR Sec. Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano delivering his solidarity message (Photo from DAR)

 

On the 8th historic gathering of farmer-leaders throughout the Philippines, all chapters of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas once again affirmed to advance the fight of the peasant sector as they play their role in leading the of the mass movement in the country.

Newly-elected KMP National Chairperson Danilo Ramos, in his closing remarks, held the farmer’s symbolic bolo as he chanted “Lupa ay laya!” (Land is freedom!). Ang lupa ay hindi hinihingi. Ang lupa ay ipinaglalaban. (We don’t beg for our land. We fight for it.)”, Ramos concluded.

EV peasant alliance to launch more farmer movements

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Farmer-leaders from Eastern Visayas attended the three-day Congress in Bicol. (Photo from KMP)

 

Regional peasant alliance in Eastern Visayas, Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (Sagupa – SB) which have been organizing farmers for twenty-eight years, will be launching more intensified and higher level of mass actions to shake the feudal lords and bureaucrat capitalists in Region VIII who have been putting the farmers’ lives in “misery” according to Sagupa – SB Sec. Gen. and former member of KMP National Council Nestor Lebico.

“Majority of the more than 700,000 hectares of land in Eastern Visayas is being owned and controlled by the region’s ruling elite which can be counted in numbers only”, Lebico said. He cited some of the major haciendas in the region such as the 704-hectare hacienda MAIC in San Isidro, Leyte and Hacienda Innaki A. Larrazabal (IAL) in Calubian, Leyte which measures up to 2,012 hectares. The widest haciendas in EV are found mostly on the northern part of Leyte.

“We are targeting to have these haciendas distributed to our farmers the soonest possible and this means more intensified protests and mass actions in the coming months”, he added.

Aside from their struggle against land monopolization, Sagupa – SB is also currently forwarding the demands of farm workers to an increased minimum wage both for sugar and non-sugar farm workers. EV farm workers are also currently affected by the agricultural liberation in the region, which is part of the government’s Yolanda rehabilitation plan. “We are not against the distribution of farm machineries but it has to be patterned with the overall situation of the peasant sector in the region wherein seven out of ten farmers in Eastern Visayas still own no land”, Lebico stressed.

The progressive peasant organization then reiterated that in the current semi-colonial semi-feudal system, victory lies not in Duterte’s hands, but in the united actions of the farmers all over the country who will be getting the land they deserve to own, wave by wave.

Kontra-parag-uma nga Balikatan 2017, atuhan!

Mahugot nga gintitipahan han mga parag-uma han Sinirangan Bisayas an natatabo nga Balikatan exercises ha siyudad han Ormoc ha Leyte ug ha Guiuan, Eastern Samar nga nagtikang dida han Mayo 8 ngan nakatalaan nga magtapos dida hit Mayo 19. Bisan pa man igin-hahambog han lokal nga pamunuan hini nga mga lugar ug mismo ni Presidente Duterte nga human and diaster relief an hinungdan hini nga natatabo nga buligay han Armed Forces of the Philippines ngan visiting forces, diri ta angay idiwara nga usa la ini nga pagkondisyon ha katawhan Pilipino agud himuon nga lehitimo an ira pagbase ha Pilipinas ngan tahuban an ira mga pan-aabuso ngan krimen nga ginhimo dinhi ha nasud.

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Naki-usa an SAGUPA – SB ha usa nga gios-protesta kontra ha Balikatan 2017 nga ginlansar kakulop, Mayo 12 ha siyudad han Tacloban. (Ginkuha tikang ha UP Vista)

US, ulo han mga man-made disaster ha nasud

Aada ha kadelikaduhan an mga parag-uma tungod han panginginlabot han Estados Unidos ha mga domestic affairs han nasud upod na dinhi an aktibo nga pakikig-kunsabuhay nira ha AFP nga yana ginpapamunuan ni Gen. Eduardo Ano. Hi Ano, upod ni Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, an nagsusulsol kan Presidente Duterte nga tugutan an padayon nga pagbase ngan panginlabot han US ha Pilipinas. Manunumduman nga bisan han panahon nga nagdeklara hi Duterte nga posible niya paiwason an mga tropa han kano ha nasud, nagpagawas hin pahayag hi Lorenzana nga magpapadayon an pagpatuman han Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sugad han napagkasarabutan.

Bisan ha pag-aabre ni Presidente Duterte ha makawala nga grupo nga National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) hin pakig-istorya ngan pakig-negosasyon para ha pagkab-ot hin kamurayawan, nagpadayon an kontra-insurhensiya nga programa han AFP nga base han mando han ira mga agaron nga kano. Sugad han mga nauna nga kontra-insurhensiya nga programa han mga nauna nga administrasyon, an US la gihapon an ulo ngan aktibo nga nagko-kontrol ha AFP. Makikit-an nga gintahuban gihapon ini nira hin community and development programs.

Pinaagi han makusog nga kontra-insurhensiya nga programa han AFP, ha pangunguna han US, napiritan magbakwit an sobra dos mil nga parag-uma han Calbiga ha Weste han Samar tungod han makusog nga panmimilitarisa han mga papet han mga kano. Usa naman nga lider-parag-uma nga gin-ngaranan nga hi Lilia Bucatcat an ginpatay hin mga gin-aalegar nga mga sundalo. Ha pagka-yana, gin-mimilitarisa gihapon an mga parag-uma ha Kagbana ha bungto han Burauen ha Leyte.

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Sobra dos mil nga mga parag-uma tikang ha kinse nga barangay han Calbiga an nagbakwit tungod han hugot nga militarisasyon ha ira lugar. (Ginkuha tikang ha Eastern Vista)

Ha bug-os nga nasud, sunod-sunod an panmatay ha mga parag-uma matapos bulkason han gobyerno han Pilipinas ngan NDFP an interim unilateral ceasefire tungod la gihapon ha pananabotahe han Estados Unidos ha iristorya pangkamurayawan. Naatubang hin hulga ha kinabuhi an mga parag-uma ha nasud tungod hit nagtitikagrabe nga militarisasyon ug apektado ini pati an ira panginabuhi.

Tuna han mga parag-uma, diri para ha base-militar han US

Lima ka bulan matapos lasurbuhon han superbagyo Yolanda an Sinirangan Bisayas, ginpirmahan ni hadto Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin ngan US Ambassador Philip Goldberg an EDCA kun diin may-ada hira mga ginkasarabutan nga lugar (agreed locations) nga pwede pag-basehan han US ha sulod han nasud.

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Agreed locations ilarum han Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement

 

Diri pabor para ha mga parag-uma nga himuon nga base-militar an katunaan nga unta iginpanhatag ha ira sugad nala han unod han ira iginsusulong nga tinuod nga reporma ha tuna. Imbes na pagpulsan han mga imperyalista an karikuhan han nasud, angay lugod nga igdistribwer ini ha mga parag-uma para han kalugaringon nga pag-uswag han nasud. Lakip ha Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, nga yana ginsusulong mismo ni Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano, an pagdistribwer han ngatanan nga public agricultural lands sugad han mga military reservations.

An imperyalista nga US an numero uno nga rason han kakurian ngan han kagutuman han mga parag-uma ngan han mga batakan nga sektor ha nasud Pilipinas. Ginsisiguro han US nga magpabilin an piyudalismo ha nasud agud masiguro an ira pan-ekonomiya nga gahum ug an pagpahaluag han ira teritoryo.

Ulang an Estados Unidos ha pag-solbar han maiha na nga giyera sibil ha nasud. Ulang an Estados Unidos ha pagpatuman han maiha na nga hingyap han mga parag-uma nga libre nga pagdistribwer han tuna. Ulang an Estados Unidos ha dayuday nga pagpakyas han monopolisasyon han tuna ha nasud.

US interbensyun, tipahan!

Iginpapanawagan han Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA – SB) an pagpaiwas han mga tropa han kano ha Ormoc ngan Guiuan ug ha bug-os nga nasud ngan an pagbasura han mga diri patas nga kasarabutan-militar nga Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) ug Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Diri ta angay tugutan nga tamas-tamasan han imperyalista nga US an soberanya han nasud Pilipinas.

Kasumpay han aton pagtipa han interbensyon han US ha nasud, aton man liwat iginsusulong an tinuod nga reporma ha tuna ug an nasudnon nga industriyalisasyon nga amo an magbabaton han problema pan-ekonomiya han nasud. Diri ta ini makakab-ot samtang kontrolado an mga burukrata kapitalista han nasud han mga hakug nga US.

BALIKATAN 2017 HA TAHUB HADR, TIPAHAN!

VFA-EDCA, IBASURA!

Reference:

Nestor Lebico

Secretary General, SAGUPA – SB

Peasants and workers of the world, unite!

The peasants and workers, hand in hand along the same line, must revolt against all forms of oppression and labor exploitation.

In marking the 131st International Workers’ Day today, the Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB) acknowledges that several millions of farmers and workers continue to suffer from relentless exploitation under a prevailing semi-colonial and semi-feudal system. The particular unequal relations between landlords and tenants, between farmworkers and landlord compradors, have only magnified the existing exploitative social relations that also exists in several farmlands of Leyte, Samar and Biliran islands. Meanwhile, several cases of unfair labor treatment, extremely low wages and the persistence of contractualization remain a reality despite expressed opposition from the workers and farmers under the present administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Particularly in Eastern Visayas, agricultural workers receive only an actual P150.00 to 250.00 pesos a day, or even less, despite the government’s own wage order in the region mandating for a daily minimum wage for non-sugar and sugar workers pegged at P251.00 and P245.00 pesos, respectively. In effect, the anti-worker Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Region VIII only wanted to provide a very meager amount of P10.00 peso wage increment. Compounded with the condition of job insecurity, several farmworkers in towns and haciendas in the region also decry the lack of access to regular workers benefits, basic social services as well as the deprivation of their right to till their own land for those who chose to engage in farm production.

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Newly-approved minimum wage rates in Eastern Visayas (taken from the official page of National Wages and Poverty Commission)

Conversely, the ongoing peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is important so as to advance the basic social demands of farmers and workers. We will work hard in the grassroots to support the signing this year of a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). We believe that by implementing genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization, the roots of massive poverty in the country will be addressed. A genuine agrarian reform will address the country’s problem of land monopoly in favor of peasants composing more than 70 percent of the population. Meanwhile, by industrializing the economy we mean to break the prevailing export-oriented and import-dependent economy along the line of self-reliance and independence.

However, in Eastern Visayas, we despise the military presence of the United States that intends to further subjugate our own sovereign interests over the country’s own natural resources and people. We reject the conduct of the Balikatan War exercises in Ormoc and Guiuan, both in Eastern Visayas, that apparently shows the government implicit approval to their militarist advances in furtherance of the US imperialist’s neoliberal policies in the local economy which, for a long time, has served only the interests of a few ruling elite in the country and the world.

The Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA – SB) extends its salutation to the working class who continue to arouse, organize and mobilize its rank since over a hundred and thirty-one years ago. In the coming months, we wish to build further our unity with the rest of the exploited classes against all forms of neoliberal policies being imposed by the world’s imperialist powers, and further reinforced through policies under President Rodrigo Duterte who had once claimed that he is a “socialist,” progressive and pro-workers during the beginning of his term.

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SAGUPA – SB Secretary General Nestor Lebico giving his support statement during the Labor day mobilization held at corner Real, Rizal St, Tacloban City.

We pledge to further escalate our resistance and heighten our militancy amid challenges and conditions of oppression where democratic rights are being curtailed by fascist policies. We belong to the 99% who will continue to rally behind the call for genuine reforms along the path of national democracy with a socialist perspective.

Farmers and workers of the world, unite!
(Photos from KMU – Eastern Visayas and Pinoyweekly)

87th IBPA forced to pull out troops in Calbiga, evacuees return home

After five days of evacuation, beleaguered residents from fifteen barangays of Calbiga, Samar have already returned to their homes after a successful dialogue with the local government unit, Social Welfare Regional Director Restituto Macuto and representatives from the 87th Infantry Battalion (IB) headed by their Commanding Officer Lt. Col Arnel Floresca last April 9, Sunday. Two dialogues took place on the said date, one set by Calbiga Mayor Luzviminda Nacario and the other initiated by local peasant group Kapunungan han mga Parag-uma ha Weste han Samar (KAPAWA) and People Surge.

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Disregarding militarization

In the first dialogue held at the municipal hall of Calbiga, evacuees, represented by People Surge – Calbiga Chapter Secretary General Lina Tabuyan supported by Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA – SB) Secretary General Nestor Lebico and People Surge Secretary General Marissa Cabaljao, received a negative response from the panel stating that evacuees should just return to their homes and “set aside” their issue on militarization.

Lebico pressed that the evacuees, mostly farmers, are demanding for a total pull out of the military troops in the affected barrios, an end to all forms of human rights violations such as harassment, coercion and torture being committed against several farmers in Calbiga, as well as payment for the damage to farmers’ properties and livelihood caused by the government armed troops.

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Municipal Social Welfare Development Officer (MSWDO) Eva Ranas and a representative from the Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) even denounced Cabaljao, Lebico and Tabuyan for what they call deplorable situation of the evacuees in the basketball court of Calbiga but failed to address the root cause of the evacuation.

“It is ironic and uncritical for the members of the panel to feel sympathy for the evacuees and tell us to see the bigger picture, but fail to see the actual circumstances that led to this massive evacuation”, Lebico said.

After almost three hours of raising their claims, the members of the panel headed by Mayor Nacario agreed to proceed to the basketball court and persuade the evacuees to return to their homes, brushing aside their representatives manifestations for “not being able to speak enough”, according to Cabaljao.

On red-tagging

Representatives of the evacuees to the closed-door dialogue were harassed by 87th IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col Arnel Floresca by openly linking them to the rebel armed group. Floresca told Cabaljao that she cannot deny the connection of the alliance and SEC-registered organization People Surge to the New People’s Army.

“It is but disgraceful for a military officer in his combat uniform to openly wage a psywar against us”, said Cabaljao.

Floresca even urged the panel to dissuade from listening to Cabaljao, Lebico and Tabuyan as the military official allege that the evacuation was simply orchestrated by the “organizers” themselves. He also said that they are even grateful every time a mobilization is held because “they can read the minds of the NPA leaders.”

Floresca had put the blame to the three representatives and “begged” them to convince the evacuees to just return to their homes since he alleged that these leaders “organized the evacuation.” An MPOC member even told Cabaljao to talk to the NPA leaders and ask them to “leave the communities of Calbiga to finally bring peace to their town.” This is contrary to the manifesto of the evacuees saying that it is the Philippine Army who are waging war in their barrios.

“The AFP always resort to red-tagging when people expose their fascist tendencies. It is just disappointing that the people who should take the side of the oppressed are the same people who give legitimacy to the military’s atrocities”, Cabaljao stressed.

“We don’t want them in our communities”

Discontented with the result of the first dialogue, Cabaljao initiated an open dialogue with the panel at the basketball court of Calbiga, right in front the 2,357 evacuees. Victims of human rights violations gave their loudest “no” when Cabaljao asked their affirmation if they will return to their communities even with the presence of the military troops.

Residents of Barangays Daligan, Sinalangtan, Minata, Caamlongan, Guimbanga, Bulao, San Mauricio, Buluan, Binanggaran, Cambagtic, Hindang, Antol, Biri, Lubang and Literon were forced to evacuate because of fear caused by prolonged military presence in village centers – amidst the civilian populace – and for several human rights abuses perpetrated by the Philippine Army, according to local peasant organizations KAPACSA and KAPAWA. The military encampment alone inside their barrios is already a violation to the International Humanitarian Law according to Mannylin Navalez, Spokesperson of Katungod – Western Samar. “They are putting the lives of the people in danger”, said Navales.

Local peasant group KAPACSA cited that (1) barangay tanods are made to guard the military troops in their communities every night, (2) young children are made to fetch water and gather firewoods for them, (3) operating military troops hide their nameplates and identities and even refuse to give them the name of their Commanding Officer, (4) for any untoward incident that may happen to the military, they will retaliate against the barrio folks and (5) children are being co-opted to become members of the CAFGU. These are just a few of the documented violations of the Philippine Army.

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“Diri kami mabalik ha amon kun diri kamo malugsong! (We will not return to our homes unless you pull out your troops!)”, an evacuee interrupted Floresca while giving a message. Members of the crowd howled as an affirmation to the said statement.

Caught off guard, Floresca asked the barangay captain of Brgy. Cambagtic, the barrio with the most number of military officials in Calbiga, to decide whether or not he agrees to the demand of the evacuees. The barangay captain then gave his affirmation. Floresca, urged by the audience, then said he will command his troops to pull out from their communities immediately that day.

“We have once again witnessed the strength of a people united. Today, we just defeated the most fascist of the fascists. But unlike them, we didn’t use guns and bullets. We had our unity to win and prevail”, said Lebico.

Peace talks’ agreements remain unimplemented

Despite a previous unilateral ceasefire declaration by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last August 2016, the Philippine Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IB) under the 8th Infantry Division (ID) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) did not leave the hinterlands of Calbiga and Pinabacdao.

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KAPACSA reported that even after the GRP’s ceasefire declaration in light of the resumption of formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF), more troops were forward deployed to upland barrios. The operating troops started occupying the villages’ dancing halls and activity centers.

Even if the two negotiating parties agreed to strictly comply with the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL), the Philippine Army continues to violate the guidelines of the agreement. According to SAGUPA – SB, the number of recorded military encampments in Eastern Visayas communities did not decrease even with the ongoing peace negotiations.

“We urge the Duterte administration, being the commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to command his troops to respect people’s rights, and to comply with the signed agreements of the GRP and NDFP”, Lebico concluded.

Meanwhile, SAGUPA – SB and Katungod – Sinirangan Bisayas pledged to monitor if Floresca will really comply with his words. The two organizations are still receiving negative reports from the residents in Calbiga.

(Photos from Eastern Vista)

COCO LEVY FUND: CASH DISTRIBUTION THRU SOCIAL BENEFITS!

TACLOBAN CITY – small coconut farmers in Eastern Visayas demand cash distribution thru social benefits of coconut levy fund worth P56.5 billion which remitted to the National Treasury last September 12, 2012.

 

“We are opposing the roadmap design by NAPC (National Anti-Poverty Commission) wherein P11 billion of coco levy fund plan to utilize for 4 programs which indentified – CARPER, 4Ps, LTI (land tenure improvement) because this programs has regular government allocations,” says Nestor Lebico, Secretary-General of Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB).

 

In pursuing utilizing the coco levy fund, small coco farmers in Eastern Visayas is supporting three (3) House Bills filed in Congress by Anakpawis Partylist related to coco levy fund and coco levy industry. These are House Bill Nos. 3443, 0469 and 5070. A bill is also pending at the Senate. All these house bills seek the establishment of a body that will be dominated by small coco farmer representatives specifically the Coconut Levy Funds Administration and Management Act.

 

“We call for financing of coconut industry development projects from initiatives of small coco farmers and their organizations/cooperatives, programs that would provide loan facilities, industry research and development programs, construction and development of post-harvest facilities, inventions and innovations of machineries and equipment for the development of high-quality coconut and improvement of coconut production, livelihood program meant to provide additional incomes, institution-building programs and skills training,” added Lebico.

 

“Coco Levy fund Ibalik sa Amin,” ends Lebico.###

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PRESYO HAN KOPRAS NAKAMAMATAY NA HA PAMILYA HAN MGA PARAG-UMA HA REHIYON 8!

Tacloban City – Duro na an paglaprak han presyo han kopras yana nga katapusan nga kwarto han tuig. Damo nga mga parag-uma ha lubi an naaraba tungod naabot nala ha tag P8.00 ngadto P5.00 an kada kilo.

Maabot na unta an kapaskuhan pero masulub-on an mga pamilya han mga parag-uma ha lubi tungod kay ura-ura na kahamubo han presyo han kopras. Haros di na magbaligya an mga parag-uma tungod waray o kulang naman an namamalit han kopras,”pahayag ni Nestor Lebico, Secretary-General han Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas o SAGUPA-SB.

An hinungdan han tigda nga paghamubo han presyo han kopras tungod han pan-ekonomiya nga krisis ha Europa nga kon diin nag-iikaduha nga importer hin coco oil an mga nasud hini. Haros katunga an gin-ubus han kanan rehiyon gin-export nga lana nga umabot nala hin 57,000 metriko tonelada han naglabay nga bulan.

Angay mayda proteksyon an gobyerno ha mga parag-uma ha lubi kon in kaso man nga nahamubo an presyo han lubi. An kahimtang han mga parag-uma yana nagpapakita la nga kon magsisinarig la ha langyaw nga nasud an aton hilaw nga produkto, waray makusog nga pundasyon an ekonomiya han aton nasud,” dugang nga pahayag ni Lebico.

Kinahanglan tagan hin dagmit nga aksyon han gobyerno an kahimtang yana han industriya han lubi. Dako nga makakabulig an pondo han coco levy fund nga ipanhatag na ini ngadto han mga parag-uma ha lubi para makabulig-bulig han presente nga kakurian yana.###

Farmers held consultation at Tacloban to reclaim coco levy funds

NEWS RELEASE
November 3, 2012

Small coconut farmers representatives led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Paghugpong sa Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (PAMANGGAS) and Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB) gathered yesterday to discuss their plan on their plight and demand for the “immediate cash distribution of the P56.5 billion coco levy funds to small coconut farmers.”

“The multi-billion coco levy funds came from the tedious process of making copra, from the small coconut farmers’ sweat and blood,” says KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella adding “it was forcibly exacted from small coconut farmers during the martial law regime.”

Marbella added that “now, that the coco levy funds are at the hands of the Aquino government, our money is now very vulnerable to become a seed fund of senatorial bets and party-list groups allied with Malacanang.”

 
Last October 5, San Miguel Corporation “redeemed” the Series “1” Preferred Shares which represents the original 27 percent of the coco levy funds, now diluted to 24 percent, of SMC common shares ordered converted into preferred shares by the Supreme Court in 2009. The order also stipulated that SMC will have the exclusive option to redeem and purchase on the third year (2012) the 27 percent comprising 753.85 million shares at a fixed price of P75 per share instead of at the prevailing market price.

The Presidential Task Force on the Coco Levy Funds headed by the National Anti-Poverty Commission is pushing for the P11.17 billion five-year “Poverty Reduction Roadmap of the Coconut Industry” that includes the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)” and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), and so-called agro-enterprise development.

Last April, former Akbayan chief and NAPC secretary Joel Rocamora said the NAPC had drawn up a P10-billion, five-year “road map” to revitalize the coconut industry and that the first year of the program could be funded with loans. “The plan is to borrow off the coco levy,” Rocamora said.

“We will never allow Aquino and Rocamora to use our money for the scandalous 4P’s and the anti-peasant CARP itself,” Marbella said adding “small coconut farmers from Eastern Visayas, Panay and other coconut-producing regions are now intensifying the struggle to reclaim the coconut levy funds.”

We demand the immediate distribution of the coconut levy funds to small coconut farmers,” says Nestor Lebico, Secretary General of SAGUPA-SB adding: “In Eastern Visayas alone, 1.7million coconut farmer-families dependent over 649,030 hectares of coco lands will benefit from the immediate distribution of the coco levy funds.”

“We are about to heighten our fight for the immediate cash distribution and reclaim the coco levy funds from the President and his coco levy fund mafia,” says Chris Chavez, Secretary General of PAMANGGAS and a coconut farmer from Iloilo who still holds stock certificates of coco levy funded oil mills.

 “The coconut levy fund was plundered by the Marcos-Cojuangco political and economic partnership during martial law. It belongs to small coconut farmers. Its recovery and return to genuine small farmers is long overdue,” says Marbella.

The groups called on the House of Representatives to immediately enact into law House Bill 3443 or the proposed Small Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund Act filed by Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano to pave the way for the return of the coconut levy funds. They also call for the Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin!. #

 

Reference: Willy Marbella

Deputy-Secretary-General

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and Spokesperson KOPRAHAN

Cellphone #: 09292396847

 

Nestor Lebico

Secretary-General

SAGUPA-SB

Cellphone #: 09493088239