By NORWIN GONZALES
MANILA — Delegates from the Cordillera and Cagayan Valley trooped to Manila on October 23-25 for the peasant protest caravan.
Dubbed as “Pambansang Lakbayan Para Sa Lupa At Laban Sa Pasismo,” it aims to shed light on land issues and the militarization of communities which continues to hound the lives of farmers all over the Philippines.
The farmers had set up a Kampuhan (camp site) in the grounds of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Quezon City. In the afternoon of October 24, a company of police forces arrived at DAR threatening to disperse the farmers. Negotiations were held and the camp was allowed to stay until the end of the protest caravan.
The protesters alleged that these were steps taken by the Office of the President.
On October 25, a salubungan (meeting) between workers and peasants happened at the Mabuhay Rotonda between Quezon City and Manila. This mass action program was the Centennial Celebration of the Great October Socialist Revolution, where the workers’ and peasants’ alliance played a huge role towards the victory of Workers and peasants of the old Russia.
Cordillera protesters brought to the Manila capital development aggression projects the issues of large scale mining, energy projects and along with militarization to force people out of their ancestral land.
“We are anxious that our land will be taken from us. Almost the entire Cordillera is covered by mining applications,” said Andres Waylan of the Alyansa Dagiti Pesante iti Taeng Kordilyera (Apit-tako).
“Our communities are being bombed, to give way to these destructive projects,” added Waylan.
He referred to the recent aerial bombings in Malibcong, Abra and the continued militarization of rural communities in the Cordillera.
Reynaldo Gameng of Danggayan-Cagayan Valley said that they also held a regional Lakbayan in Tuguegarao to air their concerns to the provincial governments.
“We condemn the rejection of Ka Paeng Mariano as DAR secretary,” he said. “He could have been the pro-farmer government official. # nordis.net