Tuesday, November 18, 2008

45 Banasi Farmers Starts 444-kilometer Sumilao Walk

To Demand PGMA to Give them back their land and to Call for the Immediate Passage of CARPER Bill

After a short program attended by various support groups, forty-five farmers (12 women, 33 men) from Banasi Agrarian Reform Farmer Beneficiary Association (BARFBA) started their 444-kilometer walk to Malacanang at 9 a.m. today, November 17, 2008, from Sitio Banasi, Barangay Pawili in Bula, Camarines Sur.

They are marching to Malacanang to demand from the President the reversal of the Office of the President's April 2008 decision signed by Secretary Ermita. The decision orders the Department of Agrarian Reform to cancel in favor of the previous landowners, Fajardo-Imperial, the Certificate of Landownership Award (CLOA) covering 123 hectares awarded to 57 Banasi farmers eleven years ago.

Secretary Ermita found the land to be a pasture land and therefore can be converted even though the DAR and the land Bank officials who did an ocular investigation were saying otherwise. The land is predominantly planted to sugarcane, rice and corn and therefore agricultural and subject to agrarian reform.

"I just want to leave my 1.7-hectare land as inheritance to my one hundred grandchildren" , said Poblen Clavero, 82, the oldest among the marchers.

Jason, Remar, and Aaron, 18, the youngest among the 45 marchers wish to finish their education. But this has almost become impossible with the sad news.

When they reached Manila , the marchers will join a bigger mobilization called National Land Pilgrimage for Equity and Social Justice to call for the immediate passage of the CARP Extension and Reforms (CARPER) Bill now pending in both Houses of Congress. Among these reforms are the substantial increase in funding to ensure 2 milllion hectares of land get awarded to 1.4 million farmers and the assurance that land titles already given to farmers cannot anymore be cancelled after a one-year time prescription, thus, ensuring the Banasi case would not happen again.

The Banasi farmers will reach Naga City by noon. The Department of Agrarian Reform will host their lunch while the Office of Mayor Jessie Robredo, their dinner. The march is being coordinated by PAKISAMA, a national confederation of peasants with presence in most regions, and provided legal and campaign support by Saligan and ARNow! The leader of the Sumilao farmers, Rene Penas, has become their trainer and is currently assisting the marching farmers. AKKAPKA's Jean Llorin reminded the farmers on the principles and methods of active non-violence to guide their long walk for land and social justice.

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1 comment:

FSGO said...

Salamat sa pag-pose at sa suporta!

PAKISAMA volunteer

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