Friday, December 21, 2007

Thy Will Be Done: Sumilao Update Day 18

In order to give government enough space and in adherence to due process, the Sumilao farmers have dismantled their camp in preparation for their trip home on Sunday. Today, they ended their journey of 1,700kms. They will bring home with them the hope that GMA will be true to her word.

They have gained what we can call the first step in their fight to get back the land they have been fighting for, for the last decade. GMA issued an executive order reverting the land to the CARP. Now they will await the government's actions in the place where they took their first step, back in Sumilao.

In God They Trust
The Catholic Church has vowed to take up the fight. In fact, several clergy have been in talks with both the government and SMFI. Cardinal Rosales has asked SMFI to do away with legalities and be a Christian. Bishops have also promised to follow up the case of the farmers. With the all-out support given by the CBCP, the farmers are confident that God is on their side and will answer their prayers.

Since they arrived in Metro Manila, the farmers have hosted by different parishes, Catholic schools and were fed by seminarians. Nuns have marched with them and several masses celebrated for them. Priests have blessed them on several occasions. This only strengthened their belief that God will look after them.

They Shall Return
The Sumilao farmers are not running away from the fight. They have been patient and peaceful. They never raised their hands in anger, but in despair and frustration. Should the government renege on its promise, the farmers will not think twice of retracing their steps back to Manila. They promised to pursue this fight to the end.

How I Saw Them
I have never encountered such peaceful folks. So meek, mild and full of hope. I have never met such innocent, kind and loving people. I saw how they cared for each other in their own little ways. Despite what confronted them, they never lost hope that somehow they will be heard. I have seen them in desperation and during their quiet moments. I heard them joke and sing even for just a few moment.

I never saw such determination and patience. Its no joke to walk for two months and more than 1,700kms. They carried on their backs the few belongings they have and the slippers on a sling. Rain and sun did not deter them and they kept walking without complaints. I remember when I brought them pan de sal which I made myself. They munched on them while sipping coffee. I saw their simplicity and humility.

The nation should learn from them. They showed what courage and determination is all about. Desperate as they were, they never lost hope. They remained strong and believed that justice would prevail. One line that I will never forget is, "Everything is within walking distance."

"Its the church's moral obligation to protect the poor and its our duty to fight for the weak."

"Bloggers Call for Boycotting of Monterey/Purefoods Products in support of Sumilao farmers. This Christmas season, December 15, 2007 to January 2, 2008. Bring down the sales of San Miguel Food, Inc. to show public support to the farmers of Bukidnon who were denied of their 144 hectares of land. Please pass to all bloggers."

Bloggers' Voice Update:

Pedestrian Observer
AWB-Arbet Bernardo: Sumilao Sa Metro Manila
The Equalizer: Boss Danding
The Four-eyed Journal
Oddball by Mayor Jesse Robredo: Sumilao Walk
Manila Bay Watch
Loves an Ocean
Planet Naga
Postcard Headlines
The Antisocial
Thirty Thousand Fishes
The Citizen On Mars
Ellen Tordesillas
Gari Lazaro
Uniffors: On Patricia Evangelsita's Column
Ibangon Ang Bayan: Ang Makabagong Lumad
The Equalizer:Boycott SMC's Monterey Meat
Ang Sa Wari Ko
AWB-Arbet Bernardo: A Nation of Crackpots and Nuts
Viking: The Skeptical Subversive
Manila Bay Watch: Boycott San Miguel Products
Messages From Balatucan
AWB-Arbet Bernardo: Kababuyan
The Antisocial: So, Who's Afraid of the Lumads? The Same Plight
The Nutbox: Supports Boycott
Angela Stuart-Santiago
You can show your support for the Sumilao Farmers here.