First International People’s Speak Out for the Rights to Land and Life In the Streets of Q.C., Philippines
July 06, 2011
On July 6th 2011, over 200 members and allies of the Peoples Coalition on Food Sovereignty, IBON International, Asian Peasant Coalition, KMP and PAMALAKAYA members and allies from 15 countries worldwide joined together for the first International People’s Speak Out for the Right to Land and Life, in the streets of Quezon City, Philippines. Rallying in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform, they brought a strong collective message demanding an end to the dispossession, poverty, hunger and livelihood devastation caused by the practice of land grabbing from small scale farmers and fisherfolk of the Global South by multinational corporations and corporate consortiums seeking land for monoculture cropping agribusiness ventures.
The realities of militant struggles by small farmers and fisherfolk for genuine agrarian reform, an end to militarization of their communities and the right to have food self-sufficiency were brought forward by rural folks from Aurora, Bukidnon, Cordillera, Isabela, Panay, Southern Tagalog, Tarlac and Laguna Bay in the Philippines. Messages about sister struggles amongst the agricultural labourers, Dalits and coastal peoples of Andra Pradesh and the Indigenous Peoples of Manipur, India, the peasants of Nepal, rural women of Indonesia, fisherfolk and farming families of Sri Lanka, the small farmers of Cameroon, Senegal and East and Southern Africa, and small farmers in Argentina were brought to the streets of Quezon City from local representatives of these communities present at the speak out. Cultural performances from the youth organizers of KMP and PAMALAKAYA chapters added lively energy to the gathering, ensuring that it was also a celebration of the strength and determination of rural peoples to stand up for their rights. The gathering also featured remarks from the Honourable Rafael Mariano, elected member of the House of Representatives for the ANAKPAWIS partylist.
The collective message of the unity of rural peoples to defend land, livelihood, and justice in the face of aggressive land grabbing and devastating losses due to the plundering of the land for minerals, oil extraction and agroindustrial processes of monocropping was unequivocal as participants vowed to intensify their local organizing across borders, continents and oceans.###