MANILA, Philippines – The militant farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Monday said that the first national presidential debate dubbed as ‘PiliPinas Debates 2016’ sponsored by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) “lacked depth and substance and focused only on image building and personality politics.”
“No one among the five presidentiables gave a substantial discussion of their political and socio-economic platforms,” KMP chairperson Rafael Mariano said.
Mariano was referring to presidentiables VP Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senators Grace Poe and Meriam Santiago and former DILG secretary Mar Roxas.
Mariano added that the country’s centuries-old social problems can’t be solved by mere elevator pitches.
The peasant leader said no one among the 2016 front-runners cited the need for genuine land reform and addressing the landlessness of farmers.
“Genuine solutions to poverty and unequal distribution of the country’s wealth will not be realized as long as land monopoly exists and the country’s resources are in the control and ownership of the few,” Mariano said.
“The presidential wannabes cited the need for free irrigation, crop insurance, rural infrastructure and social welfare but totally missed the point that without land reform and land distribution, the national economy will not genuinely prosper,” Mariano added.
“We need a new land reform program that will address the clamor for free land distribution and rural development,” the KMP leader said.
For the past years, farmers partylist Anakpawis together with other progressive partylists in Makabayan bloc have lobbied for the passage of RA 252 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) that dismantles land monopoly and distributes land for free to farmers./PT