Correspondence: Ka Yuds and the armed struggle for genuine land reform
Comrade Yuds joined the New People’s Army just a year ago, but handling a gun was not new to him. Together with his clan, he already knew how to fight with arms to defend against landgrabbers.
The conflict over the more than 100 hectares of land owned by Ka Yuds’ clan has been decades long. The land is fertile and harvests are abundant. Almost two-thirds are plains with 700 coconut trees and various fruit trees such as lansones, marang and durian.
In the 2000s, a notorious landgrabbing family settled on the land of Ka Yuds’ clan. In collusion with a despotic lawyer, they claimed the land.
In 2004, Ka Yuds’ clan occupied the land to reclaim it. They were immediately sued for “forcible entry” despite having evidence of ownership. They faced the court and proved their legitimate ownership of the land.
The landgrabbers did not stop there and unleashed violence against Ka Yuds’ family. Coconut trees were illegally cut down claiming these were the root of the dispute. The landgrabber hired 20 chainsaw operators accompanied by 60 armed guards to do the job.
To defend themselves and their territory, Ka Yuds’ clan furnished and fashioned weapons.
The conflict intensified when the landgrabber’s armed goons shot dead a farmworker hired by Ka Yuds. Keeping watch at that time, Ka Yuds and his cousin fired back.
After that, thugs burned houses and other properties of Ka Yuds’ clan. Because of this, they had to leave their homes every night. One time, they ambushed torch-bearing guards planning to burn other houses. A shotgun and a grenade were confiscated from the guards. In a separate incident, Ka Yuds’ clan fired at the guards escorting chainsaw operators to stop them from cutting down coconut trees.
The guards’ almost daily attacks lasted a month. During this time, they cut down all coconut trees and even some fruit trees. The landgrabber colluded with the military. Two military captains directly intervened in the case. There were even times when soldiers aimed guns at Ka Yuds’ clan and attempted to ambush them.
Despite this, Ka Yuds’ clan did not waver in their fight. In time, they pushed back the landgrabber. Soon after evicting the goons and soldiers, Ka Yuds’ clan settled on their land. They replanted their decimated crops and raised production. They became members of the broader peasant organization. Ka Yuds led their organization and established a collective farm.
In the following years, Ka Yuds became active in the broader peasant struggle. He led negotiations and struggles for peasants’ right to land, assistance to demolition victims, defense of Lumad ancestral land and opposition to the entry of destructive projects like mining and plantations.
Because of repression and threats to his life, he decided to take refuge and seek the protection of the armed movement, and eventually, joined the NPA as a full-time Red fighter.
Ka Yuds is devoted to the people’s army. He has served as a resource person on matters regarding land. He explains sharply and clearly the roots of land conflicts and what measures should be done.
“Legal struggle is not enough to obtain rights to land,” Ka Yuds states citing his experience. “We need weapons to confront the ruthlessness of the ruling classes and their agents in the government.””
From Ang Kalihukan, the official publication of the NDF-North Central Mindanao.