Peasants, lumads lash out at PNoy-A A +A
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
“FIGHT against exploitation and land-grabbing, resist the corrupt and anti-farmer US-Aquino regime!”
This is the perennial cry of more than a hundred peasants and indigenous peoples who took the streets on Monday to protest against the government’s ‘failure’ to address the issues hounding them.
The protesters started the Peasant Month this October with a series of campouts outside the office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) last week.
The protesters from Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental gathered at the Provincial Capitol grounds and marched to Magsaysay Park in Divisoria to denounce the government’s abandonment on their issues on development aggression and landlessness.
Sharon Liguyon, 36, together with her children, was among the lumads who participated in the rally. She is a resident of Barangay Dao, San Fernando in Bukidnon province.
Liguyon’s husband, Jimmy, was allegedly murdered on March 5, 2012 by another lumad, Alde “Butsoy” Salusad who heads a New Indigenous People’s Army (Nipar) based in San Fernando town.
Liguyon said her husband was killed because of his anti-mining stance that irked Salusad’s group. The police couldn’t serve Salusad’s warrant of arrest fearing they could be outnumbered as the fugitive’s group is armed, she added.
With the death of her husband, Liguyon said that she struggles everyday to make ends meet.
“Though we already file a case against the perpetrators, still justice has remained elusive as the government remains deaf to our pleas,” she said.
With this, Kalumbay, a regional formation of indigenous peoples’ organization in Northern Mindanao region, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Monday that the lumads came down from the highlands to express their disgust to the Aquino government and to expose the real situation of the lumad communities.
“The legitimate claim of the lumads on their ancestral domains has not been given yet. The government should recognize our right to self-determination and give back our lands,” said Kalumbay chair Jomorito Goaynon.
The implementation of the government’s promise, according to him, should not remain as false hopes to them (lumads).
He added that the government should scrap the Mining Act of 1995 and replace it with the People’s Mining Bill.
Richard Colao, secretary-general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Northern Mindanao, said the farmers are one with Kalumbay’s concern.
Colao alleged that farmers have been victims of state-collaborated and continuous land-grabbing of the multimillion agricultural companies and big landlords while the farmers have remained starving and landless.
“The scandalous pork barrel scam is an insult to the Filipino people wherein 82 fake nongovernment organizations with the collaboration of corrupt officials squander billions of pesos of public funds which come from the people’s money,” said Colao.
He said that the money could have been given as fund to the farmers and other sectors.
He added that the key solution to address landlessness and alleviate the situation of the farmers is the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill since it has been proven that the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Reforms and Extension (Carper) remains to be a burden to the farmers from the time it was implemented.
Colao said it is necessary to liberate the vast majority of the country’s wealth provider–peasants, fisherfolks and even lumads–from the chain of desolation and give back their lands to till to provide food for the nation.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 22, 2013.