By Angel De Mesa
DARAGA, ALBAY – Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) in Bicol wanted to pursue the Church’s Social Justice Agenda and support the GRP-NDF Peace Process in cooperation with progressive organizations and several church people.
Having the continuous arguments and debate on land and peace process, leaders of some farmers’ organization here in the region testified their current situation on land issues during the dialogue with the RMP Bicol, August 11.
Artemio Sanchez of DAMPA Camarines Sur share his sentiment on the issue of demolition in San Rafael, Cararayan, Naga City.
“It was already the 18th time attempt of the demolition team to officially demolished the community, but they failed. It is due to the strong resistance and unity of the people to defend their land. We just only wanted to seek help from other individuals and organizations so that we can finally be at peace and live a life on the land where our life is founded”, said Sanchez.
READ STORY: Demolition in Cararayan fails in 18th attempt
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bicol (KMB) stated that 9 out of 10 farmers are landless. Despite the present land reform, farmers do not have land titles. More peasants are becoming farm workers and at the stake of contractualization.
According to Norberto Author of KMB, they have been demanding free irrigation for the farmers. “We push the president to create an executive order to implement this,” he said.
“Having the average age of 57, the farmers are now demanding, together with other progressive sectors to restore agriculture on its dignity,” Author added.
Peace process in the midst of armed conflict
During the forum, Teddy Casino, former representative of Bayan Muna Party list, highlighted the peace process, armed conflict and the implication of Martial Law and its effect to the Peace Talks.
“Martial Law is the version of Oplan Tokhang for the suspected rebels and supporters of it. It was based on the idea that killing criminals and rebels is the key in achieving peace and development”, said Teddy Casiño.
It is way after the Martial Law declaration in Mindanao when the peace talks become at stake, however, different progressive organizations from different sectors are still hopeful for its progress and success.
They condem the continuous implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao and the fear for its expansion nationwide.
“Wala pa ngang Martial Law nalalabag na ang human rights ng mga tao, paano pa kaya sa panahon ng Martial Law?”, said Casiño.
According to Teddy Casiño, Martial law and oppression will not be a solution for the existing crisis, instead problems and conflicts must be rooted, for killings will not be a resolution.
“We at the RMP understood the armed struggle and conflict, and that is just because of the absence of social justice, relating to the farmers with the absence of land”, said Fr. Oliver Castor of RMP.
“We should not get tired of insisting the continuation of the peace Talks. We should not be discouraged, instead we should continue the call for genuine peace”, Teddy Casiño concluded. (BaretangBikolnon.com)