GARB against land-grabbing by aliens

We are extremely alarmed at this growing new trend of international land-grabbing by resource-hungry nations, such as China, South Korea and the Middle Eastern countries.

The only protection we can see now — in fact it is already in Congress — is the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), or House Bill 3059, a bill written by us peasants to protect our right to land and achieve food security for our country. It will ensure that our lands will be used for the benefit of the majority of the Filipino people and not just for the few moneyed elite.

Here in the Bicol region, two out of three farmers do not own the land they till. This jibes with the national data that seven in 10 farmers are landless. We have also received reports that foreign corporations are targeting thousands of hectares of agricultural lands in the region, particularly in the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur, for biofuel plantation. Now if the global land grabbing spree is to reach us in full force, there would be no farmers left in Bicol.

Considering the push of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime for Charter change and the extension of the fake Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the “extinction” of the Filipino farmer is not far-fetched and we can say goodbye to food self-sufficiency for our country. Charter change will allow 100-percent foreign ownership of land, and CARP has been inutile at best and is even used as an excuse for rampant land-grabbing by both local and foreign corporations.

We are urging Congress to immediately pass GARB and junk CARP and Charter change. GARB will be our last line of defense in our efforts to protect our lands against this new type of invasion and it will be a big step forward for our economic prosperity.

FELIX PAZ, chair, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Bikol (KMP-Bikol), Barangay Alcala, Daraga, Albay


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