January 24, 2010 in Featured
By ADELA WAYAS
We owe the rice that we are eating to the farmers who work the field to supply the millions of people in the country. For me, the farmers bleed for each and everyone of us because without their hard work many will starve especially those who are used to fluffy white grain on their table.
It has been 23 years since the Mendiola massacre was marked in the history of the Philippines by the blood of some 13 farmers who were killed and the hundreds wounded. January 22, 1987 when thousands of farmers from the different parts of the country gathered to protest and demand from the new Aquino administration for the implementation of genuine land reform promised to the peasants.
Instead they were confronted by the anti-riot group of the Western Police District, the Integrated National Police and the Philippine Marines who fired at them as they came to the Mendiola Bridge.
I do not know why this had happened. In the law there is such a thing as freedom of expression where according to Constitution Article III Section 4. “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
And for me, the farmers who went in the protest were just expressing their grievances to the administration at that time. What had happened to them is unjust, what they did is a form of redressing what they want and do not want.
Looking at what had happened to them, their rights were voilated. The Article XIII of the Constitution sections 4-8 indicates the rights and privileges of these farmers. Instead of answering the grievances, they were blocked and some killed and many wounded.
Thinking of the farmers who were killed and hurt is like being told that there are people who do not care for the farmers. I just do not know what will happen to the people who do not care when there will be no more farmers to till the land and produce food to eat.
I am sure many of us do not know how to plant. Why not be grateful that there are farmers who are planting for our food. Edgar Watson Howe says that “even if a farmer intends to loaf, he gets up in time to have an early start”.
For their hard work what are some of us doing? Many do not even eat all they have put in their plates or sometimes just throw the food out.
D.D. Eisenhower once said that farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you are a thousand miles from the corn field. Maybe many of us think like this but we do not know really the feeling of a farmer, of course we will just know it when we try to go to the field and put our selves in the boots of the farmer. And if you are playing the game Farmville in the internet, you would have an idea now of the value the food you are eating and value also the importance of the farmers our life.
Going back, in the commemoration of the 22nd anniversary of the Mendiola massacre, I can not blame the farmers and the different organizations who are supporting them in the rallies and protests that they are doing. Their call to justice for the victims should be heard and its time that the government provide a genuine agrarian reform for these farmers. What had happened should remain a lesson to all of us.# nordis.net