SCAP Supports Akbayan’s Vote on Joint Resolution re CARP Extension

18 12 2008

Below is Rep. Risa Hontiveros’ explanation of vote on the Joint Resolution extending CARP without compulsory acquisition:

To vote YES to the Joint Resolution would be to vote for the death of agrarian reform.

Compulsory acquisition is the heart and soul of the agrarian reform program. The 1987 Constitution commands the State to undertake the just distribution of ALL agricultural lands. The fact that all agricultural lands should be the subject of CARP tells us that acquisition should be compulsory and not at the option or whim of the landowner. I cannot, in good faith, sign my name on a Resolution manifestly unconstitutional and grossly illegal.

Huwag na po nating kumbinsihin ang ating sarili na an gating ginagawa ngayon ay para sa magsasaka. Huwag na po tayo maghugas ng kamay sa ating magiging pagkasala sa sambayanan.

There are 1.3 M hectares of land yet undistributed. These lands are in agrarian reform hotspots like Negros and Bondoc Peninsula, where landowner resistance has resulted not only in non-distribution but also in oppression and outright violence. These are the types of landowners who would never voluntarily give up their lands. If they have managed to circumvent the law under a policy regime of compulsory acquisition, how much more under a framework of optional agrarian reform?

Hinahamon ko ang mga ginagalang na kasama sa Negros at sa mga iba pang kasama na may lupa na boluntaryo ninyong ipasaklaw sa agrarian reform ang inyong mga lupa. Huwag natin gamitin ang Kongreso at ang ating posisyon upang ipagtanggol ang sarili nating interes. Ipamahagi ninyo sa loob nitong anim na buwan ang inyong mga lupa.

Ginoong Speaker, napakalaki na po ng utang ng kasaysayan sa ating mga magsasaka. Sa Joint Resolution na ito, tuluyan na natin silang papatayin.

Tonight, Ginoong Speaker, we have managed to obliterate an entire class. The countryside will never forget this moment. We have let our farmers down.

Akbayan votes no.


Student Leaders Urge Government to Uphold Juan’s Human Rights; Starting with Genuine Political Reforms

10 12 2008

In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, youth group, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, a broad network of Student Governments, will march with Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and other multi-sectoral groups today, December 10, 2008 to pressure the government to implement crucial political reforms and as well as to denounce any moves to change the Philippine Charter before 2010.

The said mobilization will highlight the issues of the poor and the marginalized, particularly the landless farmers and the urban poor masses. The event is at the same time, a demonstration of the civil society’s discriminating view on the current efforts to amend the constitution.

“Our calls are quite simple, one, Congress has to pass CARP Extension with Reforms before they go on Christmas break on the 17th; and two, legislators should not force CHACHA before the next national polls,” quips SCAP National Secretary-General, Paula Bianca Lapuz.

“It seems that GMA allies in HoR are not wasting time in reviving moves to convene Congress as a Constituent Assembly. While we (SCAP) are busy encouraging “would-be” First Time Voters in 2010 to register starting this month, our legislators in the house are also busy gathering more signatures for CHACHA, with an open intent of extending GMA’s term beyond 2010. This is the height of unethical and trash politics,” adds Lapuz.

The Fight for Land Reform Continues…

“There are still hectares of undistributed land across the country to this date ever since CARP has expired last June, 2008. Farmers have been waging war against undaunted landlords over the past two decades. It’s about time that we, as a nation, recognize that this struggle is not just the farmers’ alone but ours as well, this is an issue of poverty alleviation and food security,” adds Lapuz.

Although, solons in June have adopted joint Resolution No. 21, with the Senate maintaining the land acquisition and distribution (LAD) component of the CARP until December 31, 1.1 million hectares still remain undistributed.

Thus, SCAP strongly supports calls to pass House Bill 4077 which seeks to extend CARP with significant reforms.

Amidst the present global financial crisis, we must secure our local economy and resources.

The Campaign Against CHACHA before 2010 starts all over again…

In a statement last 2007; the alliance said “We believe that the Government’s motivation for changing our current political system is to ensure the political survival of the beleaguered presidency of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo. Genuine pursuit of necessary and essential reforms in our political and electoral system could never take place under the present administration.”

“And we see no difference this year, we maintain our stance on GMA’s CHACHA,” says SCAP Vice-Chairperson for NCR and UP Manila Medicine Student Council President, Tina Langit.

“To push for Charter Change amidst the pressing political crisis is a suicidal step for GMA, the people simply won’t allow it,” Langit continues.

SCAP believes that the true measure of a matured and performing democracy lies in the capacity of the State to promote and uphold the basic rights of its citizens.

Hence, the Alliance reiterates that initiatives for genuine political reforms must come from groups, institutions and individuals which/who have the moral and political ascendancy to lead the process of Charter Change, otherwise this process might just be used to further curtail the civil and political rights of our people.

Widen Democratic Spaces for Political Participation

The group stressed the importance of the people’s direct participation in our democracy.

“We call on all our lawmakers to prioritize bills such as CARPER which would ascertain our farmers’ rights to till their own lands and to give precedence to other landmark bills which can further guarantee the fulfillment of the rights of ordinary Filipinos, such that they will be able to contribute to the simplest and most intricate aspects of nation building.” Langit concludes.

SCAP reckons that maximum political participation of vulnerable / marginalized sectors in a democracy can only be achieved through the peoples’ conscious practice of their basic human rights and the State’s sincere effort to ensure that these rights are fully enjoyed by its people.###

SCAP to March with CEAP and Farmers to Push for CARPER

9 12 2008

Catholic schools to rally for CARP extension

12/08/2008 | 11:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The biggest organization of Catholic schools in the country on Monday said it would hold a massive street protest Wednesday to goad Congress to extend Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and at the same time denounce the government’s plan to amend the Constitution.

In an interview with Radio Veritas, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) director Msgr. Gerardo Santos said the main purpose of the protest is to help the farmers call for the extension of CARP before Congress goes on a Christmas break on December 20.

“Kaya tayo ay sumusuporta sa ating mga kapatid sa kanayunan sa kanilang pangangailangan na magkaroon ng tunay at (The reason why we support the farmers is because they a need to have the real and) long lasting CARP with extension and reform,” he said.

Santos added the protest is also in line with the inter-faith rally against Charter change in Makati City on Dec. 12.

“Pareho kasi gumawa nga ng national statement ang CEAP na tutol sa Cha-cha before 2010 at pro-CARP with extension and reform (the CEAP made a national statement that we are against Charter change and we are pro CARP),” he said.

Santos said they plan to unite and join all the farmers who marched to Manila in their bid to extend the program. He further said all the protesters are expected to meet at St. Peter’s Church in Quezon City before proceeding to Batasan Complex.

The CEAP has 1,252 member-schools.

Those who will join the protest are Dela Salle University, Adamson University, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, College of the Holy Spirit, Don Bosco Technical School, Philippine Christian College, San Beda College, Concordia School, Miriam College, University of Sto.Tomas, Divine World Seminary and St. Paul Manila.

Also set to join the protest action are La Consolacion College-Manila; St.Joseph’s College-Quezon city;Sta.Isabel College,Stella Maris; Sta.Catalina College, Daughters of Charity, St. Pedro Poveda,St.Scholastica College, Sienna College, Order St. Benedictine College, Task Force Mapalad and farmers from Yulo, Hacienda Bacan, and Calatagan. – Aie Balagtas See, GMANews.TV