Farmers mount nationwide campaign for Aquino ouster

by Dean Lacandazo

0
1398
Protesters burned an effigy depicting President Aquino occupying two thrones illustrating Aquino's hinting for a second term. | Photo by Dexter Aserdano/Manila Today
Protesters burned an effigy depicting President Aquino occupying two thrones illustrating Aquino’s hinting for a second term. | Photo by Dexter Aserdano/Manila Today

Farmers all over the country simultaneously conducted protests calling for the ouster of President Benigno Aquino III over the president’s hinting of a term extension.

Led by progressive farmer’s group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), over a thousand peasants marched to Mendiola bridge today rallying the people to join in ousting Aquino whom the group call as “Haciendero President.”

The protest was the culmination of a week-long series of demonstrations to demand land reform and oppose moves of the Aquino administration for amendments in the country’s charter and attempts of lifting the term limit in the constitution through the President’s allies in the legislature.

Aquino has been hounded by the issue of the Hacienda Luisita, which is yet to be distributed to the farmers and farmworkers by the President’s kin, the erstwhile owners of the vast sugar estate. The President since 2010 has brushed off the issue saying that he no longer has a stake in the Cojuangco-Aquino estate, but his sisters and other relatives are still stockholders and officials of the company that runs Hacienda Luisita.

Former legislator and now Chairperson of KMP Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano said that the President’s attempts for ChaCha and term extension will further push the farmers into worse poverty. “Aquino’s pro-landlord and pro-business policies have worsened the backward agriculture and landlessness of farmers nationwide,” said Mariano in a statement.

KMP Chairperson Rafael "Ka Paeng" Mariano delivers his closing speech at today's protest action. | Photo by: Dexter Aserdano/Manila Today
KMP Chairperson Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano delivers his closing speech at today’s protest action. | Photo by: Dexter Aserdano/Manila Today

In Manila, the protesters burned an effigy depicting President Aquino occupying two seats which they said to signify that he wants to occupy two terms despite “public discontent.” They were able to continue the protest despite pour of heavy rain on the latter part of the protest’s program.

In Davao City, farmers decry unresolved landlessness and consecutive human rights violations under the Aquino presidency on their march along San Pedro Street in downtown Davao. The flock is also under the banner of KMP and stressed the cases of harassment, trumped-up charges, and killings of peasant leaders in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley.

5
Farmers in Davao City staged a protest in coordination with the simultaneous protests nationwide led by KMP. | Photo contribution: Kilab Multimedia

Pedro Arnado, chairperson of KMP in Southern Mindanao said that his group will intensify the campaign for the ouster of the President which they believe could help in attaining genuine land reform. The rest of Luzon, in Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela, and Cagayan Valley also staged their own protests. Cebu City, Tagbilaran, Bacolod, and Iloilo in Visayas also participated in the nationwide protests. While, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Pagadian, and General Santos in Mindanao also protested in the city centers in support of KMP’s ouster campaign.

– with reports from Kilab Multimedia (Davao City)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here