December 17, 2008
Some 200 members of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and the Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP) joined the farmers’ mobilization on the last day of session of Congress to back the demand for an extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. The groups carried placards with the messages “Lupa, Trabaho, Pagkain Hindi Cha-Cha,” “CARP Extension Hindi Term Extension,” and “Maralita Magkaisa, Baguhin ang Sistema.”
“The urban poor and the rural farmers are brothers and sisters in the struggle for agrarian reform. An alliance between the urban and rural poor is necessary not just to push for social justice but also social change. A one-two punch by the workers and farmers will provide the knock-out blow against the rotten system and pave the way for social reform,” stated Jess Panis, spokesperson of AMP.
He added that “The urban poor does not support the so-called genuine agrarian reform bill because it is a right demand but at the wrong place and the wrong time. Pushing for it now objectively puts its proponents in alliance with the landlords that oppose agrarian reform. Its proper venue is a revolutionary government not the reactionary Congress.”
PM supports the peasants’ campaign for a continuation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The group is also demanding that Congress and Malacanang enact a bailout at stimulus package for workers and poor. Panis identified the package as “The SSS, GSIS and OWWA must subsidize all private sector workers, government employees and OFW’s who will be laid off due to the crisis that should last until they find a new job up to a maximum of 6 months. Government must also declare a tax rebate for all workers equivalent to 2 months wage. And a public employment program must be established for the four million unemployed Filipinos.”