By Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
We of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle are in firm solidarity with Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines) in the carrying out of the National Lakbayan (caravan and long march) for Land and Justice from the southern and northern regions of the Philippines to the national capital in ten days, from January 12 to 22.
We applaud and congratulate you for resolutely and militantly organizing this unique mass undertaking which traverses more than 1000 kilometers. We are elated that this mass mobilization has started from the south in Davao City on January 12 and from the north in Tarlac city on January 16.
We strongly support the broad masses of the people, especially the peasants, farm workers and fisherfolk, who are involved in this historic event. We eagerly await the convergence of the caravans and long marchers in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform on January 21 and the march to Mendiola, near the presidential palace, on January 22. We agree with all your objectives.
It is just to demand genuine land reform and the free distribution of land to the tillers as the solution to the land problem. Land reform must be realized on the strength of the peasant movement and for the purpose of attaining the economic, social and political liberation of the peasant masses. It must not be limited to the confines of reactionary legislation.
The so-called Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) is essentially intended to dampen the peasant demand for land and preserve the feudal and semifeudal forms of exploitation. As in previous bogus land reform programs, CARPER retains the same loopholes and tricks for the landlords to prevent or evade land reform.
It is necessary to bring to national and international attention the local struggles for land and take up the most outstanding cases of land accumulation and landgrabbing at the expense of the peasants and the farm workers. The people want to know more about the land greed, rapacity and brutality of certain landlord families that dominate the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system.
Two major presidential candidates, Benigno Conjuangco-Aquino III and Gilberto Cojuangco-Teodoro belong to the same big comprador-landlord clan which owns vast haciendas in Tarlac, Pangasinan, Isabela, Negros, Caraga, Palawan and elsewhere in the country. The land question must be in the agenda of the current electoral struggle. The progressive parties and candidates who espouse land reform deserve support.
It is necessary to expose, oppose and frustrate the escalating militarization of the countryside under the Oplan Bantay Laya of the US-Arroyo regime. The gross and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by the regime are instigated and provided with logistics by US imperialism, especially under its policy of global war of terrorism. The official military, police and paramilitary forces collaborate with the private armies and gangs of foreign monopoly enterprises, the big compradors and landlords.
In their struggle against the imperialists and the local reactionaries, the toiling masses of workers and peasants must engage the active support of the middle social strata and middle forces of Philippine society. It is necessary to heighten the unity of the broad masses of the people and intensify their militant struggle against the rotten ruling system and the rapidly worsening socio-economic and political crisis.
We the International League of Peoples’ Struggle support the broad masses of the Filipino people in their struggle for national independence and empowerment of the toiling masses, development through national industrialization and land reform, social justice, a national, scientific and mass culture and international solidarity against imperialism and war.
We are determined to coordinate the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles of the Filipino people with those of all other peoples of the world in order to help raise to a new and higher level the struggle of humankind for greater freedom, democracy, all-round development, social justice and world peace.