BAYAN-USA salutes Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) on the occasion of its third national congress this February 20-21. As the national progressive center of unions, federations, associations and organizations of agricultural workers in the Philippines, UMA has been at the forefront of organizing and uniting Filipino agricultural workers for genuine land reform as a fundamental requirement for true national democracy in the Philippines.
UMA’s congress comes at a critical time in history, when the Filipino people are fighting neoliberal attacks coming from abroad in the likes of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and from the domestic ruling class under the leadership of the haciendero president B.S. Aquino and his land distribution schemes. With the theme: “Resolutely resist the neoliberal attacks on the workers, peasants and other democratic forces! Struggle for genuine land reform, wages, employment benefits and rights! Arouse, organize and mobilize the agricultural workers in large plantations and haciendas! Boldly expand the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA),” your congress rallies the toiling masses to confront head-on the sharpest problems facing them today.
We are inspired by UMA’s relentless struggle against labor exploitation, land-grabbing, forcible eviction, and the oppressive feudal conditions in the countryside, in the face of severe repression and human rights abuses. Members of UMA and its local affiliates are subject to violent assaults, detention on trumped up charges, and even extrajudicial killings by the state and its many instruments of terror, simply for rejecting the system which keeps them in a perpetual cycle of poverty and daring to uplift their social conditions through such undertakings as collective farming and land cultivation.
Following the testimonies of numerous witnesses at the recently concluded International People’s Tribunal on Crimes Against the Filipino People 2015 (IPT) in Washington DC, we know agricultural workers and peasants carry great risks in undertaking this fight, yet they remain steadfast in their commitment to advance the struggle.
As stated in the resolution adopted by BAYAN-USA’s 5th National Congress on July 18-19, 2015: “Social inequities and exploitation of Filipino farmers persists. It is therefore a moral imperative and a political necessity to link arms with and support Filipino peasants defending and asserting their rights to the lands.” We look forward to linking arm in arm with UMA, as together we resist state repression and fight for national democracy in the Philippines.
MABUHAY ANG UNYON NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA AGRIKULTURA!