Groups reject Marcos’ vice presidential bid

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News -

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang or CARMMA is getting a lot of support from citizens who are opposing the vice- presidential bid of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

Various party- list and farmers’ groups and civil organizations, among others also joined the mounting calls to reject Marcos’ political aspiration.

One of them, Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap , recalled that the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos major programs included the Presidential Decree 27 or the so- called Masagana 99 agricultural program or the “Green Revolution” program that highlighted high- yielding varieties designed by foreign agro- chemical corporations through the International Rice Research Institute, the imposition of the Coconut Levy Fund.

“Marcos salvaged the feudal control of landlords by only covering rice and corn lands to his PD 27, transformed the already poor Filipino farmers as market to agro- chemical products of foreign monopoly,” Hicap said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

He said that PD 27 only covered 756,000 hectares of land from 1972 to 1986, while it excluded about 2 million hectares of coconut lands, more than 400,000 hectares of sugar lands and it promoted the expansion of pineapple plantations from 28,000 to 60,000 hectares.

Hicap added that PD 27 immediately excluded Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac province controlled by the Cojuangco family, as well as, the 40,000 hectares in Coron and Busuanga towns in Palawan province, that was declared as a pasture lands and awarded to Marcos’ cronies, hence, naming it Yulo King Ranch.

He said Masagana 99 was a total failure and mis- ery for the farmers. “The Marcos dictatorship chained the Filipino peasantry to the monopoly of agro- chem foreign corporations, instrumental to their bankruptcy and consequential loss of lands,” Hicap said.

Hicap asserted that the introduction of agro- chemical agriculture resulted to irreparable damage to biodiversity and environment. Government data showed more than 7 million was employed in the agricultural sector in 1972.

“We will never forget golden kuhol ( apple snail) that the Marcos dictatorship unleashed in the countryside, so that farmers would be compelled to combat them with pesticides manufactured by foreign agro- chem corporations,” Hicap said.

Marcos imposed one of the grandest scam in the country’s history that victimized more than a million coconut farmers, the “Coconut Levy Fund Scam,” according to Hicap.

He said it was collected by way of several funds as ordered by Marcos, particularly the Coconut Investment Fund through Republic Act 6260, Coconut Consumers Stabilization Fund through PD 276, Coconut Industry Development Fund through PD 582, Coconut Industry Stabilization Fund through PD 1841 and Coconut Reserve Fund through PD 1842. A total of P 9.625 billion fund was collected from poor farmers from 1973 to 1982 that was used to establish the United Coconut Planters’ Bank, acquire the Coconut Industry Investment Fund oil mills, consequently shares of the San Miguel Corporation.

“Marcos demonstrated his utmost intellect in scamming coconut farmers through coco levy by his many decrees,” Hicap said.

Citing a report by the news site Bulatlat, Hicap said farmers were the most victims of heavy militarization carried out by the Marcos dictatorship against the emerging New People’s Army in the early 1970s. During Marcos’ 14 years of dictatorial rule, it resulted to the arbitrary arrest and detention of around 120,000 people; extra- judicial killings of 1,500 activists; and the enforced disappearance of 769 individuals.

“Farmers were usual suspects of supporting the NPA, hence, they were also the usual victims of human rights violations,” Hicap said.

He said with these few measures, the Marcos dictatorship automatically condemned the majority of the 37 million Filipinos to extreme poverty, misery and death. The group said that the Marcos family is yet to be held accountable for its catastrophic programs and policies, affecting farmers such as at least 7 million employed in agriculture, one million coconut farmers, and one million dependents of the sugar industry.

“Martial law was a period of where all the oppression, exploitation, fraud against the farmers was implemented instantaneously, it is like raising hell against the Filipino farmers,” Hicap said.

He also blamed postMarcos regimes for failing to serve justice to the victims of Martial Law, including the incumbent President Benigno Aquino. “Aquino is incapable of holding the Marcoses’ responsible, as they are the same ruling class, guilty of oppressing and exploiting the Filipino people, and serving the same master, the US imperialism,” he said.

“We totally urge Filipino voters of today to oppose Marcos’ vice- presidential bid, denial that his father’s dictatorship was totally immoral is natural of him as son, but his total disregard of the sacrifices, deaths, trauma of the victims is outright inhuman, an unacceptable trait of supposedly national leader,” Hicap added. ( Mindanao Examiner)

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