Launching of PATRIA:

Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay ng Repormang Agraryo

(Peoples' Alliance for Genuine Agrarian Reform)


St. Peter's Church, Commonwealth Ave., QC


October 10, 2007


BONUS TRACKS: Why are our farmers poor?/Meals to go


Quick Facts:

■   Agriculture is still the backbone of the Philippine economy and prime source of livelihood of Filipino people .

■   It contributes 18% to the GDP and agriculture-based industries account for another 10% of the GDP.

■   More than 75% of the country's  labor force is employed in the agricultural sector.


■   Average farm size is  0.5 – 1.5 hectares.

■   Majority of the farmers do not own the lands they till and are bound by feudal and semi-feudal relations of exploitation as tenants, farm workers, or lease-holders.

■   7 out of 10 farmers are landless.

■   Philippine agriculture remains small scale and backward



■   Agricultural daily minimum wages range from P151-212 nationwide but farmworker wages are found to go as low as P20 (Negros), P50 (Samar), and P69 (Cagayan Valley).

■   In Southern Tagalog, only 307 landlords control 71,898.50 hectares of coconut lands in the province of Quezon alone.

■   In Mindanao, more than 100,000 hectares of agricultural lands are controlled and owned by local and foreign agri-business corporation

■   61% of the members of the 8th Congress which drafted and approved the CARP have interests in landholdings and agriculture. Most members of the House Committee on Agrarian Reform of the same Congress were landowners themselves.

The government's land reform program (CARP) inherently favors landlord interests in terms of:


■   land retention right of landlords and their children

■   compensation for land acquired by government for agrarian reform

■   amortization by beneficiaries of lands granted under the program

■   acceptance of “arrangements alternative to the physical distribution of lands such as production or profit sharing, labor administration and the distribution of shares of stock

All data here  lifted from the power point presentation of Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary General




Rafael Mariano

Chair, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and PATRIA convenor


Bienvenido Lumbera

National Artist and PATRIA convenor



Theme: Malawakang itaguyod ang Tunay na Repormang Agraryo para sa kaunlaran ng magsasaka at sambayan!



By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo
Published in Business World 14-15 Oct 2007

Para la patria

The Arroyo regime has less than three years to go before its term ends in 2010. Malacanang’s strategy for surviving till then (which is not to assume that she will be stepping down in 2010) is to wallow in a state of denial, continuously stonewall investigations, engineer covers-up, outmaneuver and repress the legal Opposition while utilizing the State’s iron hand against both armed and unarmed dissidents.

The regime’s culture of impunity covers everything from extrajudicial killings to multibillion peso scams that bilk the taxpayers dry to repeated election cheating orchestrated at the highest levels.

In another clumsy attempt to ward off criticism and belittle the consistently negative approval ratings of Mrs. Arroyo in popularity surveys for the past three years, Press Secretary Bunye declared, “We don’t mind poor survey ratings as long as economic indicators are improving.”

This is not the first time government apologists have resorted to calling attention to the “good news” in the economic front in order to draw attention away from scandals, anomalies, gross human rights violations, etc. It’s bad enough that the inevitable reaction of city dwellers to government reports of economic growth is that they don’t feel it, what is worse is that the great majority of Filipinos – the peasants in the countryside -- suffer from more and more intolerable living conditions despite the so-called improving economy.

Indeed the lot of the peasantry should be the prime measure of the health of the economy.

At the recent launching of the 2007 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report and the Philippines Midterm Progress Report, Mrs. Arroyo declared that the “ratio of Filipinos living in extreme poverty has been drastically cut from 20.4 percent in 1990 to 10.2 percent in 2005.” She added, “Our vision is a Philippines on the verge of First World status in 20 years when we will have dramatically reduced poverty, created a robust middle class and have all the hallmarks of a modern society in strong and stable institutions.”

A closer and more critical look at the Arroyo government's claims will show that there is nothing in the MDG or, in fact, in government’s economic program that will ensure that these purported goals and alleged gains would benefit the greater majority of the population: the peasants in the countryside and other sectors whose lives and livelihood are tied down to the backward agricultural economy. Without genuine land reform that would unshackle the farmers from feudal and semi-feudal exploitation and bondage, the destitute farmers, farm workers and marginal fisher folk would not have the means to enjoy whatever real gains there are in the economy.

The "gains", in the first place, are illusory. The claimed "drastic cut" in the poverty incidence from 1990 to 2006, for example, is the result not of any economic growth and a more equitable distribution of wealth, but of a statistical sleight of hand in the form of redefining and lowering the poverty line.

In another launching, this time of PATRIA or Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (People’s Alliance for Genuine Agrarian Reform), organizations of peasants, agricultural workers, fishers and their advocates among legislators, church people, social activists, professionals and the academe affirmed their commitment to work and struggle for real land reform in the country.

They underscored the fact that while the Philippines is rich in natural resources, including forty four per cent of thirty million hectares of land area consisting of productive agricultural land, the majority of our people are suffering from severe and unrelieved hunger and want.

PATRIA stated, “The peasantry constitutes the biggest productive force (75 percent of the population) of the Philippine economy. They, together with the fisher folk, produce the staple food of rice and fish for the vast majority of the population. It stands to reason that the farm lands tilled by the peasants and the fishing grounds of the fishers must be taken care of for the benefit of all the people who rely on them. “

Moreover, according to the alliance, “For more than 19 years of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), the monopoly in the ownership and control of land resources by big landlords, foreign and domestic agri-corporations and bureaucrat capitalists has not been shattered. Instead, feudal and semi-feudal exploitation and oppression have merely intensified.”

The farmers group, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) pointed to the continuing emasculation of CARL by the fact that the original target of 10.3 million hectares for land reform was reduced by 1995 to 8.3 million; that is, 4.5 million hectares were to be distributed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and another 3.5 million, by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). This means that of the 12.6 million hectares estimated by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics as planted to traditional and export crops, roughly 8 million hectares are not even covered by CARL.

The truth of the matter is that DAR’s “total accomplishment report” does not take into account the lands wherein Certificates of Land Transfer, Emancipation Patents and Certificates of Land Ownership Award – documents showing the peasants’ legal right to eventually own the land they till – have been taken back using a variety of reasons. Hundreds of thousands of hectares have been exempted from reform because of land use conversion such as for “tourism zones”. Big haciendas have evaded land distribution to the tillers by means of so-called non-land transfer schemes such as the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) done at the Hacienda Luisita (owned by the family of former President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino) and the “corporative scheme” executed at the Danding Cojuangco hacienda In Negros.

The groups decried that landlord violence against peasants, especially those who assert their economic and political rights, is reinforced by the heavy-handed repression carried out by the military, police and paramilitary groups such as the notorious Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).

Thus their battle cry is it to bring the call for genuine agrarian reform onto the national agenda, as both the correct way to modernize agriculture, develop the rural and national economy, and most importantly, uplift the economic and socio-cultural conditions of more than two-thirds of the population.

They are also calling for the rejection of the CARL, more so its proposed extension by the Arroyo regime past 2008, even as progressive parliamentarians are taking up the cudgels for the peasants in filing a bill containing most of the elements of genuine agrarian reform. Nonetheless, with a landlord-dominated Congress, the alliance expressed a healthy amount of skepticism that such a bill would be passed without overhauling the stranglehold of landlord and other domestic and foreign elite interests in the economy and the state.

Danilo Ramos

Secretary General, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas




KMP calls for:

■   an end to the eviction of farmers

■   an end to land grabbing

■   the termination of the of anti-peasant land reform program under CARP

■   the immediate implementation of genuine and thoroughgoing agrarian reform program



The PATRIA initiative is important and relevant to the entire nation and not just to the rural folk whose unrelenting clamor for land and rural justice underlies the intractable armed conflicts that continue to rage in the countryside. Only the path of genuine agrarian reform coupled with national industrialization can in truth lead the nation to economic prosperity, social justice and equality as well as lasting peace.#
Column in TXT format



Since CARP's inception hundreds of farmers have been killed struggling for genuine land reform.

Extrajudicial killings of farmers’ have totaled more than 400 since 2001, of this, 65 are  farmer leaders

  Partial list of Haciendas in the Philippines  
Hacienda / Land Lord
Danding Cojuangco Jr.
Negros, Isabela, Cagayan, Davao del Sur, Cotabato, Palawan
Hacienda San Antonio and Hacienda Sta. Isabel (Danding Cojuangco Jr., Faustino Dy, Juan Ponce Enrile)
Ilagan, Isabela
Nestle Farms
10,000 (as of now) 160,000 is their target
Isabela, Cagayan, Compostela Valley, Agusan Sur
Floreindo Family
11,048 (including Davao Penal Colony)
Davao del Norte
Almagro Family
Dalaguete, Cebu
Dimaporo Family
Hacienda de Santos
Nueva Ecija
Hacienda Banilad and Hacienda Palico (Roxas Family)
Canlubang Sugar Estate
(Yulo Family)
Luisa vda de Tinio
Nueva Ecija
Hacienda Luisita
(Cojuangco Family)
Escudero Family
Southern Tagalog
Andres Guanzon
Reyes Family
Southern Tagalog
Sanggalang Family
Southern Tagalog
Uy Family
Southern Tagalog
Palmares and Co. Inc


  Distribution of Land Ownership  
Farm Size
(in hectares)
Number of Owners
Overall Percentage (%)
Land Size
(in hectares)
Overall Percentage (%)
50.1 or more
24.1 – 50
15.1 – 24
12.1 – 15
7.1 – 12
3.1 – 7
3 or less


  Peasants' Victory  


The peasants have struggled against powerful forces  and have suffered greatly in the process, but they have accumulated victories such as the following:


■   People’s Land Reform in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac - cultivation started in 2006, about 2,000 has. have been made productive in 10 villages comprising the hacienda. Of the 2,000 has., about 700 has. have been planted to rice and some 60 has. planted to vegetables. More than 1,000 families are now tilling an average of two to 2 ½ has. This victory is a result of the agricultural workers struggle.

■   In San Mariano town in Isabela province, loan interest rates reached up to 40% per cropping.  The farmer-trader negotiations in 2001, led by Alliance of Farmers in Cagayan or CAGIMUNGAN succeeded in lowering the interest rate to 13%. An estimated 100,000 peasant families in the region are benefiting from the struggle.

■   Buffalo, Tamaraw and Limus (BTL) remains in the 400-hectares of lands inside CMU despite Supreme Court 1992 ruled in favor of CMU. BTL is practicing sustainable agriculture with more than 300 TRVs in their community seed bank

Why are our farmers poor?

Download video clip of Sermon from the movie SAKADA

SAKADA  is a movie on agrarian unrest. It was shown only for a day in 1976 because the dictator Marcos banned it. Government operatives confiscated the tapes. It was only years after EDSA II that it was available for public showing again.


With apologies to Robert Frost's


The woods are lovely, dark and deep

But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


But every time we take our meals at home or at GOTO Haven we are always reminded that farmers, fisherfolks and farm workers work very hard to give us the rice we eat and the fruits and vegetables and other crops, the fish and the poultry --- most everything that go into our meals.


(Eateries at Philcoa, QC)



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