“We hope that the Belgrade Call to Action will push the governments of these countries to undertake appropriate measures that will put an end to the phenomenon of peasant killings and promote genuine agrarian reform to uplift farmers from their dire conditions,” Mallari stressed.
“IRRI failed to improve the lives of the farmers and end rural hunger as it had boasted. Worse, it has facilitated landgrabs, trapped farmers into debt bondage, and has dipped rice farmers’ income as its corporate funders have been profiting off farmers’ demise.” Mallari added.
The PCFS official vented her concern on the spate of massacres happening in Negros province, especially since Duterte declared it with two other provinces in a state of lawless violence under Memorandum Order No. 32. She said the island of Negros is known as the hacienda-capital in the Philippines as it is home to the largest landholdings still owned by landlords and to a large concentration of landless farmers. Similar massacres committed by military took place in Sagay City, Negros Occidental and Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, killing nine in October and six in December last year respectively. All victims were farmers actively campaigning on local issues.
As we close our commemoration for the Day of the Landless 2019, we call our members, networks, and fellow food sovereignty advocates to condemn the crackdown against the farmers in Cambodia and express our solidarity to the affected communities. Let our support strengthen global rural peoples’ struggle for land and life.
The people of Preah Vihear province, north of Cambodia are currently engaged in a struggle for their land and life. Sugarcane fields are slowly replacing their communities due to the corporate takeover of Guangdong-based Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co., Ltd., a Chinese agribusiness mainly producing diversified sugar products. In 2011, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) granted it economic land concessions (ELCs) covering over more than 42,000 hectares of land in the province. Hengfu’s landgrabbing is one of the prominent land dispute cases in Cambodia.
The groups are holding various activities to highlight the rural people’s land struggles on March 29, which they proclaimed as the “Day of the Landless.” The Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP), and People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) are leading the global day of action under the theme“Reclaim Our Lands, Reclaim Our Future.” Solidarity actions are being organized in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Jordan, Palestine, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Zambia.