First 100 days of Duterte: Farmers ask for government reforms
TARLAC CITY — Central Luzon farmers have joined their counterparts under the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in calling the “poor sectors” to further drive President Duterte to the nationwide clamor for fundamental reforms in governance.
The militant Anakpawis Partylist led more than 2,000 farmers from Central Luzon, Bicol, Cagayan Valley, and Mindanao that converged at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) compound.
Anakpawis Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, said the new administration has a lot to be done on their major concern including peace, national sovereignty and welfare of the basic sectors.
Casilao added that the President’s first 100 days is “a good start with lot needed to be done.”
The farmers are demanding for genuine land reform and the continuation of the peace talks between the government and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
“President Duterte advanced the peace talks, we describe it as excellent,” Casilao said.
Scores of consultant-political prisoners of the NDFP, including Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, were released, for the talks to resume.
The negotiating panels have affirmed the past agreements, particularly the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law (Cahrihl).
“It is historic that those perceived as leaders of the NDFP were able to visit Malacanang, without threat of harassment. There was an atmosphere of peace, and we completely hope that it would be until the armed conflict is resolved,” Casilao said.
He added that President Duterte promised the Lumad evacuees that they could safely return to their communities. “Some of them were able to continue to operate in their area.”
Though the prospect of the peace talks is upbeat, human rights violations continue, usually victimizing poor farmers and Lumad indigenous people, according to Casilao.
“We actually brand some sections of the AFP, PNP as ‘peace spoilers,’ as they seem to contradict the presidential policy on peace and busy themselves with committing abuses against the people,” Casilao said.