A New Day for the Farmers

“Dalawang uri lang naman ang mayroon sa Pilipinas. Ang mga Panginoong may lupa at mga hampas lupa..”

I remember saying those lines to my mistah back in 2008, when I was still in College. I said it perhaps out of frustration. Or anger. Or my losing of faith to the system. We were then with the Calatagan farmers who were about to attend the Holy Mass and to have an audience with the Archbishop before leaving for their long march to Manila (A move inspired perhaps by the Sumilao farmers from Bukidnon.).

Since the advent of my awakening, I have always supported the cause of the poor and the oppressed for justice, freedom, and ownership. You may not see me with a banner or a raised fist in the streets but I believe that there are other ways to support their cause other than protests and rallies.

I studied Land Reform for one semester in 2005 as a required subject in College. The semester ended with all the discussions, cases, principles, and examples but there is only one thing that I can still remember up to this day.

The different programs for land reform in the Philippines have failed. The farmers are still tilling the lands which are not theirs. And powerful landlords still own vast area of land.

But the dark days for landless farmers may soon be over.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ordered the distribution of about 5, 000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita.

The court sided with the farmers, Department of Agrarian Reform, and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council, which said that the stock distribution option was not in accordance with the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

(For the benefit of those who are not watching the news, in stock distribution option, the farmers who will choose that would be just a mere stockholder (shareholder) and not a landowner.)

At last, social justice for the farmers. I hope that the Hacienda Luisita case would be a landmark decision, a jumping point for other cases. The struggle of farmers with their lands is not just a problem of Tarlac but of the whole country.

I want to see a new day where there will be no more landless farmers, no more greedy landowners, and no more social injustice brought by land ownership disputes.

Mabuhay ang mga magsasakang pinagkalooban ng lupa! Mabuhay ang mga magsasakang nakikibaka para sa kanilang lupa! Padayon!



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