Thursday, November 08, 2007

Agrarian Reform And The Lowly Farmer

I promised Gari Lazaro that I will tackle the plight of the Sumilao farmers. These farmers were left out in the cold by the very government who promised to give them land and uplift their lives. These farmers have chosen to walk from Sumilao in Bukidnon to Manila to air their grievance. Not only has the government turned a deaf ear, the Supreme Court has also tuned its back on these farmers. The last bastion of justice have chosen to turn a blind eye to their plight.

Agriculture is the foundation of our nation. The lowly farmer has toiled and slaved for greedy landlords for centuries. In this modern time, we still see this slavery being practiced. The Sumilao farmers were legally awarded a 144 hectare land. But the greedy owner, Norberto Quisumbing applied for conversion and the land in question was never distributed. But after five years, the development did not take place and the land in question was subsequently sold to San Miguel Corp.

Now the farmers have nothing to look forward to. Their claim to the land is just but a claim. No one is listening and the government would rather side with the moneyed than address the lives of the poor. The future of the Sumilao farmers is in limbo. Their march is a march to death. Buried is their claim to the lands government awarded to them. Buried are the dreams that somehow, their miserable lives will have a change for the better.

I hope that those who read this spread the word and make their plight known. They are Filipinos like you and me. They are making a stand on this and I hope that their efforts will not be in vain. Let us not abandon them in their hour of despair.

*For additional information on Task Force Sumilao, you may visit this website. For a thorough discussion, visit Gari Lazaro's site.