KAMANDAG joined the nationally coordinated protest to demand genuine agrarian reform and fight against tyranny and state fascism of the US-Duterte regime held last June 8, 2018.
Among the failed promises of Duterte during his campaign includes genuine agrarian reform for the peasantry. He promised in his early days in office to implement a moratorium in land use conversion, and the peasants held high hopes as he directs the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to review all land use conversion applications. It was only a press release, a promise written in a body of water, a macho fascist bravado. In reality, KAMANDAG witnessed the worsening of the situation of peasants, as he not only continued previously rampant land conversions, but up the ante–widening and hastening state-sponsored landgrabbing.
The Duterte’s 2040 AmBisyon plans with ‘Build Build Build’ Campaign as its flagship program to eradicate poverty, but on the contrary is now killing the livelihood and eradicating the homes of peasants and indigenous people. These projects are now harassing farmers and converting agricultural lands into mega cities, energy projects, and other infrastructures. New Clark City in Tarlac – Pampanga, alone, is estimated to cause displacement of thousands of Aeta tribes that live within the landgrabbed ancestral lands. Several more “new” cities, are bound to spring pop also, in nearby provinces of Metro Manila.
KAMANDAG calls “development” of this kind, a development aggression and is not a genuine development for the people. The group firmly condemns development aggression for its total disrespect on human rights, and its rampant plunder of the environment and the people’s natural resources.
As a solidarity to thousands of peasants marching in Mendiola and several other cities all over the country, clamoring for the implementation of genuine agrarian reform and condemning tyranny and state fascism, Kamandag created a giant scarecrow with the message “Nasa pagkakaisa ang lakas ng uring magsasaka” (The strength of the peasant class is in their unity). Truly, united as one, can the oppressed class, the peasantry together with other oppressed sectors, unroot and vanish the root cause of their worsening poverty: Feudalism, Bureaucrat Capitalism, and Imperialism. The scarecrow echoes the sacred vow of the peasant to protect their rights and deter those who seek to destroy their seeds and plants of national liberation.
(KAMANDAG is an alliance of artists and writers whose advocacy is to protect the lands of the peasants and the indigenous people against development aggression
Artists and writers are the conscience of the society, Kamandag uses their crafts to promote and give voice to the issue of farmers and indigenous people in both urban and rural communities. Art galleries, spoken word events, writing collections and pamphlets are the main activities of Kamandag to raise awareness regarding the issues.)