THE Group of Environmental Socialists (Goes) has aired issues and concerns affecting Contributed Photo to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Negros Occidental.
The group led by their coordinator Pastor Ariel Garzon met with some representatives of DAR-Negros Occidental I in Bacolod City on Friday, February 14.
Goes, in a statement, said the meeting was an offshoot of the clarification sought by the DAR Undersecretary Emily Padilla regarding the organization’s “Pabukid Manifesto.”
“Pabukid” is an annual environmental educational camp of Goes that aims to educate the participants and communities through workshop, discussion and community interaction.
During the discussion with the DAR, the environment group presented the facts and evidences through the presence of holders of certificates of land ownership awards (Cloas), who are still fighting for their land rights until now.
Goes said they already told the agency to stop converting lands inside the protected area including the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) and Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park (MKNP).
“This may cause advantage to rich individuals or businessmen,” it said, adding that “rather, it [DAR] should install the uninstalled farmers who are oppressed and continuing their battle cry against the oppressors.”
The government, it said, should also check the status of land in MKNP where geothermal plants are located and since the land is under agrarian reform.
“We cannot move forward on these agrarian issues if we fail to eradicate the root cause of it,” Goes said.
The DAR representative suggested to Goes to set another dialogue and seek audience with their heads to attain greater solution, the group said.
It is hoping that the agency will act on what has transpired during the meeting, for the benefit of farmers and the common good.
“We are committed to continue empowering and be the voice to the voiceless,” it said.