As a gesture of goodwill and support to ‘Ka Paeng’, picketing farmers dismantle makeshift camp at DAR

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news national pix 1 july 20 2016FOR MORE than four years, a makeshift camp of farmers, still struggling to own a piece of farmlot for each of them under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), used to greet passers-by in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Quezon City.

The makeshift camp that was made of worn out tarpaulin, sacks and bamboo sticks is now a thing of the past after picketing farmers from the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (Pakisama) dismantled it voluntarily in a show of solidarity with Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano.
“We are doing this (self-demolition) of our camp as our gesture of our goodwill and support to the new DAR leadership headed by Ka Paeng (Secretary Mariano),” Pakisama President Rene Cerilla said in an interview.news national pix 2 july 20 2016
Cerilla said his group decided to put an end to its four-year-old protest after Secretary Mariano vowed to look into the five major issues it is fighting for, foremost among which is the 10,000-hectare disputed farm land that the natives of Bugsok in Balabac, Palawan have been claiming for more than five decades.

The property is currently owned and managed by Danding Cojuangco, founder of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Party and a former associate of long term authoritarian President Ferdinand Marcos.

news national pix 3 july 20 2016Cerilla said Mr. Cojuangco gained possession of the vast land through the use of armed men, who bullied, harassed and intimidated local farmers shortly after then President Marcos declared Martial Law in September 1972.

Also in the wish list of Cerilla were: Stop demolition of farmers’ homes in Semirara, Antique, and place under CARP coverage the 100-hectare agricultural land that is included in the 12,200-hectare Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport in Casiguran, Aurora, the Ysiro landholding in Antipolo, Rizal and the Cagbalite Island in Mauban Quezon.

Cerilla said his group is counting on Secretary Mariano’s inaugural statement that under his watch no farmer would be evicted from the farmlot he/she is tilling.