The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) reiterates its firm commitment to support poor Filipino peasants in the intensified campaign for Genuine Agrarian Reform. RMP leads its members and allies in all its sub-regional units to lend all-out support to peasant initiatives for their rights to land, free land distribution and fundamental reforms. As RMP was established to assist the struggle of the rural poor, it is reaffirming its mission by expressing its utmost support to the Philippine Land Reform Movement composed of the peasantry, workers and other oppressed and democratic sectors.
RMP vows to cross arms with the peasantry against the renewed and aggressive efforts of landlords and big businesses, president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s allies in the legislative and pseudo-peasant organizations to push for the enactment of yet another extension of the Republic Act 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
CARP, that ended last June 30, 2014 failed to address the centuries-old problem of landlessness, instead it consolidated land monopoly, vast haciendas and plantations. By the provisions of the law, lands allegedly distributed to so-called beneficiaries are reseized and re-concentrated to the hands of big landlords, local and foreign agro-corporations. Landlessness and land grabbing worsened during the CARP’s 27 years.
RMP advocates for the enactment of House Bill 252 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) as it spirits social justice, emancipation of the rural poor and democracy. GARB’s vital provisions are it proposes free land distribution and nationalization of agricultural lands. The very ideals the Filipino peasants themselves believe as key for their upliftment from the bondage of poverty and exploitation. GARB also aims to protect the land from the feudal control of the rich few and plunder by foreign governments.
Aside from fulfilling the peasantry’s aspiration, GARB is to spark genuine rural development, that is uplifting the socio-economic conditions of the rural poor, then to serve as support to the vital needs of the local industry, as seed to the national industry for all Filipinos, from all sectors to benefit from. GARB also aims to protect God’s gift, the fruits of the land, the productive rice lands, agricultural lands, resources from plunder, destruction through land and conversion that are dictates of foreign monopoly, which are all steps towards food security.
RMP appreciates GARB for its provisions assuring respect for the rights of women and children, farm workers, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and other sectors of the rural poor are protected by GARB.
RMP asserts that as church people and as rural missionaries, “we are just giving voice to the cry of the poor, heeding the call of Pope Francis, and we believe that the church documents are still relevant in our peasant advocacy.” From Vatican II Church in the Modern World # 66 & 87 Gaudium et Spes, “the church recognized the difficulties of farmers in relation to their produce”, therefore called on church people” to work for a better social order especially in the regulation and distribution of land”.
From the papal encyclical # 103 Laborem Exercens 1981 of St. John Paul II – “Agriculture is of fundamental importance” # 101 and also called “ church people to help bring about radical changes in order to restore to agriculture and rural people their just value as a basis for a healthy economy.”
The RMP is a national organization, inter-congregational and inter-diocesan in character, of women and men religious, priests and lay. We live and work with the peasants (farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples and agricultural workers).