Monday, April 20, 2009

The Un-CARP-able story

In this blog, you would always read about CARP posts. Some are press releases or updates from other fellow advocate’s site. I have been immersed with the CARP extension with reforms (CARPER) Bill campaign just last year.

At first, it was all work. Then it became my personal advocacy. Agrarian reform is needed in the countryside. Land is very important to farmers. I know it. I grew up in a barrio where agriculture is the primary source of livelihood of people. Control and access to land is the only way to empower the small farmers; the farmers have been feeding this country and yet, they remain poor and powerless. They are always left at the mercy of the middlemen and brokers and even with the landowners.

I presume you have watched Ditsi Carolino’s documentary “Lupang Hinarang”. Not yet? Hhmm..What about the marches done by farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon? Calatgan, Batangas? Banasi, Camarines Sur?

Okay, I’ll just assume you have known of the Sumilao Higaonon farmers from Bukidnon who have trekked 1, 700 kilometers to Manila just to fight for their 144 hectares of land. They made headlines for quite a time. They were fighting for the land that was a part of their ancestral domain, that was rightfully theirs and yet, the landowner devised schemes to change its usage and sold it to San Miguel Corporation (SMC). The fertile land was once planted by rice, but SMC wanted it for their piggery. It is just heartbreaking that the farmers have to take extrajudicial means to dramatize their plight.

But beyond this, my involvement with CARP campaign became a personal one. It took a different meaning. Aside from my personal advocacy in engaging the State and yes, calling all the legislators to finally sign the pending Bill, I confess that I got myself involved one way with another to Someone in the course of the campaign.

This I guess, is the most personal thing I have written here. I did not intend this blog to by personal blog. But as I reflect on the situation, I can’t help but smile, a bitter smile (!). Well, I thought it was something special. We talked till the wee hours of the morning not only about CARP and the State’s double standards, but also about almost everything. We texted, chat and exchange emails almost everyday. We started to share about the stories of our lives. It's 'Friendship' that is no longer defined in the realm of the said word. I thought there’s hope. But not everything is rosy as I thought it was. I could not contend with his past.

And just like the CARP Bill in Congress right now, everything about us is left hanging. (But there was no ‘us’, after all, I scold myself).

The legislators in Congress are s-l-o-w-l-y legally killing the law.

We no longer talk like we used to. Maybe this is the slooooow death of whatever we have.


I don't want to be left hanging.

Sad but I guess, I have to give up and just say

goodbye.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Farmers Press for the Enactment of CARPER as Congress’s Session Resumes

(This article is taken from CARPERNOW website.)

On the first day of the resumption of the session of Congress, the farmers of Sumilao, Banasi, and Calatagan did not waste any time in pushing for the enactment of the CARP Extension with Reforms bill. In the morning the farmers walked from CARITAS in Manila to the Senate Building in Pasay. There, they stood together in front of the Senate gate and called on the Senators to make good their promise of fast-tracking the enactment of Senate Bill 2666 into law, subject to certain amendments.



Upon arrival at the Senate, members of the farmers’ support groups met with them and expressed continuous support for their campaign. Students from De La Salle University and staff of the DLSU Center for Social Concern and Action expressed before the media people present how they have been witnesses to the farmers’ struggle and why the enactment of CARPER would redound to the benefit of not only the farmers but of all Filipinos. Some of the farmers delivered messages to the members of Congress as they all bared their bodies with the message “PASS CARPER NOW” painted on them. The farmers learned that Senate Bill 2666, CARP Extension with Reforms Bill, has been put as priority agenda at the Senate this week. Unfortunately, its counterpart bill, House Bill 4077 has not been included among the House’s priority agenda for this week.



From the Senate the farmers then proceeded to the House of Representatives in Quezon City in the afternoon. The farmers waited outside the session hall for the arrival of the members of the House and gave them leaflets with their messages to the legislators, saying they will continue to be vigilant in pushing for the enactment of CARP Extension with reforms. The farmers attended the session as guests of Rep. Risa Hontiveros.



Rep. Hontiveros posed an inquiry at the start of the session. She asked about the status of the charter change bill. She said that this bill should not be prioritized over other more important bills such as the CARP Extension with Reforms Bill. Rep. Datumanong said, “There is bill a filed … but this will not be prioritized over other bills. (Its enactment) will go through the process.” Regarding CARPER, Rep. Remulla said, “We have to debate on it because there are other bills pending…filed by BAYAN MUNA and ANAKPAWIS, and that filed by Rep. Villafuerte.” Rep. Hontiveros reminded Rep. Remulla, the Presiding Officer, Rep. Datumanong, and all the legislators present that, “The CARPER bill has already finished second reading while the GARB bill is still at the Committee.” She added, “The House is not just expected to enact the CARPER law. In fact, the House leadership has committed to the bishops that we will enact (the law) before adjournment in June.”



After the session, the farmers again waited for the legislators outside the session hall to thank those who have been champions of CARPER and to convince those who have yet to become supporters of the social justice bill. They were able to talk to Representatives Hontiveros, Ronaldo Zamora, and Edcel Lagman, among others.

Farmers Press for the Enactment of CARPER as Congress’s Session Resumes

(This article is taken from CARPERNOW website.)

On the first day of the resumption of the session of Congress, the farmers of Sumilao, Banasi, and Calatagan did not waste any time in pushing for the enactment of the CARP Extension with Reforms bill. In the morning the farmers walked from CARITAS in Manila to the Senate Building in Pasay. There, they stood together in front of the Senate gate and called on the Senators to make good their promise of fast-tracking the enactment of Senate Bill 2666 into law, subject to certain amendments.



Upon arrival at the Senate, members of the farmers’ support groups met with them and expressed continuous support for their campaign. Students from De La Salle University and staff of the DLSU Center for Social Concern and Action expressed before the media people present how they have been witnesses to the farmers’ struggle and why the enactment of CARPER would redound to the benefit of not only the farmers but of all Filipinos. Some of the farmers delivered messages to the members of Congress as they all bared their bodies with the message “PASS CARPER NOW” painted on them. The farmers learned that Senate Bill 2666, CARP Extension with Reforms Bill, has been put as priority agenda at the Senate this week. Unfortunately, its counterpart bill, House Bill 4077 has not been included among the House’s priority agenda for this week.



From the Senate the farmers then proceeded to the House of Representatives in Quezon City in the afternoon. The farmers waited outside the session hall for the arrival of the members of the House and gave them leaflets with their messages to the legislators, saying they will continue to be vigilant in pushing for the enactment of CARP Extension with reforms. The farmers attended the session as guests of Rep. Risa Hontiveros.



Rep. Hontiveros posed an inquiry at the start of the session. She asked about the status of the charter change bill. She said that this bill should not be prioritized over other more important bills such as the CARP Extension with Reforms Bill. Rep. Datumanong said, “There is bill a filed … but this will not be prioritized over other bills. (Its enactment) will go through the process.” Regarding CARPER, Rep. Remulla said, “We have to debate on it because there are other bills pending…filed by BAYAN MUNA and ANAKPAWIS, and that filed by Rep. Villafuerte.” Rep. Hontiveros reminded Rep. Remulla, the Presiding Officer, Rep. Datumanong, and all the legislators present that, “The CARPER bill has already finished second reading while the GARB bill is still at the Committee.” She added, “The House is not just expected to enact the CARPER law. In fact, the House leadership has committed to the bishops that we will enact (the law) before adjournment in June.”



After the session, the farmers again waited for the legislators outside the session hall to thank those who have been champions of CARPER and to convince those who have yet to become supporters of the social justice bill. They were able to talk to Representatives Hontiveros, Ronaldo Zamora, and Edcel Lagman, among others.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

FARMERS’ HOPE FOR REDEMPTION

Davao City- After a weeklong march and vigil in Almendras Gym to commemorate the Lenten Season, the farmer groups coming from Davao Provinces, Compostela Valley and South Cotabato will march again tomorrow morning to Congressman Nograles’ Office to remind the House Speaker to keep his promise on the immediate enactment of a law extending and reforming the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

While the whole Christian community celebrates the redemption and ascension of Jesus Christ this Easter Sunday, the farmers share the joy and put their hopes that indeed the CARP law to be enacted will be truly for their salvation from long suffering and indebtedness.

“Pagtuo nako human maapud- apud ang yuta,mahuman sad among problema. Dili diay. Abi sad namo kung parentahan namo ang yuta mas makaganansiya mi, mas ningdaku hinuon among utang pagsulod namo ug kontrata sa kompanya (We thought after the land was distributed, our problems would be solved. We were wrong. And we also thought if we would let our land to be rented we could gain, but we have incurred more debts when we entered into a contract with the company),” Ireneo Vasquez, a farmer beneficiary shared.

“Tani ang ila ipasa nga balaod makabulig para makalampos na kami sa amon nga kapigaduhon hindi nga ang mga mangaranun lang ang makahimulos. (Hopefully the law that they will pass will truly alleviate us from poverty and not those who are rich will benefit from it.), a farmer representative from Polomolok added.

The farmers have marched under the sweltering heat of the sun and relied on the aid of the barangays they pass through. Like the infamous Sumilao march, the farmer groups time and again have to take extrajudicial means to dramatize their plight, pining their hope to the legislators who are responsible to the policies that eventually will govern their lives.##

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Farmer’s March to Calvary

Davao City- As the rest of the population are enjoying the weeklong break for the observation of Holy Week, farmers from Compostela Valley, Davao Provinces and South Cotabato will be reenacting Jesus Christ’s march to Calvary to reiterate their clamor for the immediate enactment of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARPER) Extension with Reforms Bill

The farmers under the Ugnayan ng mga Nagkakaisang Organisasyon sa Kanayunan (UNORKA) are calling for all Mindanao House Representatives’ support for and prioritization of the said bill as Congress reconvene on April 13.
The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on their meeting last March 16 with the President and members of Senate and Congress were assured of the approval of the bill, but the farmers feared the numbers of House Representatives that are needed to pass the law is still lacking.

“There must be a minimum of 120 signatories in order to pass the CARPER Bill but only 84 representatives are reportedly in favor of CARPER bill the extension of agrarian reform law. The farmers have been staging different pilgrimages to fight for their land. From Sumilao to Calatagan Batangas, the farmers never ceased to struggle for land ownership. We are calling for the big bulk of “undecided” representatives to heed our call. Agrarian reform is the heart of the countryside,” Dagohoy Magaway, of Mindanao Farmer’s Development Center (MFDC) said.

As one farmer leader from Mati, Davao Oriental lamented, “Semana Santa o dili, grabe na among penitensiya. Sa pag-apud apod pa lang sa yuta taas taas na nga kalbaryo aang mong maagian. (Lent or not, we have been suffering tremendously. Just for land distribution, we have suffered long enough.).”

The Via Crucis or the stations of the cross are located at the different key areas of Compostela Valley, Mati, Digos and Calinan. The farmers especially those coming from agrarian reform communities from Compostela Valley, Mati (Davao Oriental) will start their walk from April 8 while those coming from Polomolok (South Cotabato) will join the Digos (Davao del Sur) community and start the march on April 10. Farmers from Calinan (Davao City) will wait for them in Ulas and together they would gather for a vigil in Almendras Gym until April 13.##

 

Blog Template by YummyLolly.com - RSS icons by ComingUpForAir