Sunday, October 07, 2007

Support the Sumilao lumad-farmers' March for Land, Dignity and Justice

The children of the Sumilao farmers. They are now continuing the struggle of their parents. Some of them will be joining the March on October 10.

The original hunger strikers back in 1997.

Ka Peter Tuminhay with Erap Estrada and Etta Rosales.

Ten years ago this month, 17 lumad-farmers from Sumilao, Bukidon staged a hunger strike in front of the office of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Quezon City. Their call then was and still is the redistribution of the 144 hectares of their ancestral land. Many things have happened since their 28-day hunger strike in 1997. Former President Ramos’ much vaunted Win-Win formula came to naught when the Supreme Court decided to uphold the conversion order of then Executive Secretary Ruben Torres. Meanwhile, the Norberto Quisumbing Sr Management and Development Corporation sold the land to the San Miguel Food which is now putting up a piggery farm. In spite of these setbacks, the Sumilao farmers remain steadfast and still believe that one day they will be able to reclaim their ancestral land. They have now filed a petition for the cancellation of the conversion order before the Office of the DAR Secretary.They are also asking President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to use her powers to give them back their ancestral land.

On October 10, 2007, fifty of the more than 150 claimant farmers will walk on foot from Bukidnon to Manila. They are expected to arrive in Manila on December 10 to press the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Office of the President to act on their case. This walk is their non-violent way of protesting the more than ten years of injustice they have gone through in trying to reclaim their ancestral land. Their story is a sad reflection of the state of agrarian reform in our country. It demonstrates how little our commitment is to agrarian reform justice. It is the lumad-farmers' hope that through this walk they will be able to re-ignite our awareness on the situation of agrarian reform in the country and create a groundswell of support for the acceleration of distribution of lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

The lumad-farmers of Sumilao need your help. The students of the AB Development Studies of the Ateneo de Manila University (Kristine Basa, Aya Mamaril, Ivygail Ong, Audris Umel, and Kristine Wee) have started a fund-raising drive to help the Sumilao farmers. As of October 6, 2007 they have raised P2027. However, the Sumilao farmers need more. All throughout the 60-day walk they need food, water, raincoats, slippers, tent, medicines and first aid kits. You may send your donations to PAKISAMA’s bank account:

Bank Account Name: Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
SavingsAccount Number: 0280-14200-0Equitable PCI Bank, Katipunan Branch
Please e-mail the details of your donation (amount, time and date of deposit, etc.) at Sumilao march email or to PAKISAMA to check if your donation has been received and to receive updates on the march.

PAKISAMA is a national confederation of farmers association in the Philippines. Its National Coordinator is Raul Socrates Banzuela. Its office is located at Rm 207 Partnership Center , 59 Salavador St. Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

Revoke the Conversion Order! Redistribute the Land under CARP!
Reform and Extend the Agrarian Reform Program! Rationalize Land Use!

For updates please visit this site. Please download the flyer and distribute to your friends, organizations and networks.

All photos by JMOD.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Red shirt day for Burma


Photos from Freedom for Burma. Stand up with the people of Burma, sign the petition.