“All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured . We must, therefore, insist on a global consensus, not only on the need to respect human rights worldwide, but also on the definition of these rights for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that.”—The 14th Dalai Lama
MANILA, Philippines – Catholic bishops wrote President Aquino Friday seeking an urgent dialogue next week, on the eve of the 24th anniversary of CARP, as thousands of farmers started a days-long trek to Manila to demand the completion of the agrarian reform program.
At least 5,200 farmers started marching, with contingents from Negros Island, Mindanao and Luzon trekking from June 1 to 10 before converging at Mendiola.
Led by Task Force Mapalad (TFM), the landless farmers from 321 haciendas in Negros launched the “Farmers’ March for Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Completion” to bring their demands right to the President’s doorstep.
In Mindanao, 100 farmers from Davao provinces and Bukidnon marched from Malaybalay to Kisolon town, the first leg of their three-day journey up to Cagayan de Oro City.
TFM leaders scored the “dismal” pace of distribution of lands by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) which promised to distribute 32,000 hectares of land in Negros Occidental this year. They said the record shows Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes distributed only 2,467 hectares from July 2010 to March 2012.
The farmers of the country are on the march again. This time, they are urging the Aquino administration to do more. And since the impeachment telenovela is done, I hope those of us who spend much time mulling over the Corona saga would shift our attention to the plight of our farmers. They need our support.
Campaigns like this though, bring back memories of the Sumilao March of 2007. And I must say, marching to Manila from Mindanao is only one aspect of the campaign. How to secure the lands and the titles, would take more effort and support from not just the religious and the agrarian reform groups, but from everyone.
Padayon ang pakigbisog alang sa tiunay nga pagpang-apod-apod sa yutang umahan! Padayon ang pakigbisog alang sa katungod sa mga mag-uuma ngadto sa ilang yutang gitam-an!