By NORWIN GONZALES
BAGUIO CITY — For farmers, every day is important in the agricultural cycle. However, for some, there are things worth sacrificing a day or two from the farm.
They want to be heard and they need to voice out their concerns, so they join the nationwide Lakbayan ng Magsasaka to Manila.
Reynaldo Gameng, 41, had to leave behind his crops during harvest season. He plants corn and rice.
“Our children, and our wives, they were left behind to take care of the harvest of the crops,” he said.
“We sacrifice because we know what we want, that is – genuine land reform,” he said in front of a 2,000 strong crowd in Mendiola.
Meanwhile, Betty Guineden, 74, is from Rizal, Nueva Ecija. She was not able to plant rice as scheduled. Planting was supposed to start in July but the rains only came in August. Rice fields in their community are rainfed because there is no irrigation system in place.
“You can plant, but it will just be eaten by birds,” she said.
Guineden added that the creation of a water receptacle called “tanggal” was offered by the government.
“However, not all can afford it.,” she said. P1,500 is collected for every hour of work to make the tanggal.
She however left behind her squash and vegetable gardens to join the protest in Manila.
Banag Sinumlag, 82, says he joined the Lakbayan to call for change in the anti-farmer laws that are in effect now.
He is from Rizal, Kalinga. He left behind his corn crops, ready for harvest.
“Just you wait a little, I’ll be in Manila to fight for our rights,” he said.
He said the people of his community were very encouraging when they knew he would be joining Lakbayan.
“My family were the most excited. They said ‘why should you not go?’ Afterall it is for the good of everyone,” he finished. # nordis.net