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PIA Press Release

Church–led Farmers' Pilgrimage for CARPER!

by Gil E. Miranda

DAR-Agusan del Norte (February 27) -- A historic event, initiated by Civil Society of Northern Mindanao, graced and given life by Most Rev. Juan De Dios M. Pueblos, D.D. of Butuan City, staged a rally at Saint Joseph Cathedral Pastoral Center, Butuan City on February 13, 2009.

More than fifty protesting farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon supported by Peoples' Organization, Youth, Civil Society and Government Sectors staged their historic walk from Bukidnon and arrived in the afternoon in Butuan City. According to the farmers, their enthusiasm and strong desire to reach Manila is inspired by the goal to request Congress and Senate particularly President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to extend Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension Reforms by passing into law House Bill No. 4077.

The farmers were warmly welcomed by Most Rev. Juan De Dios M. Pueblos, D.D. Archbishop of Butuan City, who gave His strong support, prayers, encouragement and heart warming message to the farmers. Other multi-sectoral groups showed in their Christian exchange of welcome and gave their solidarity support to the Sumilao Farmers.

"This is the day when Sumilao Farmers is facing another challenge. Their fight is not for their own cause but it's all about the fight of all farmers to own a land in Mindanao and not for the foreigners." Archbishop Juan De Dios M. Pueblos said. "Ang yuta dili ginama sa mga kamut sa tawo, ang yuta gihulma sa Dios isip gasa ngadto sa katawhan. Pagbatok sa kalisud usa ka pamaagi sa pag-panday og kalinaw.", Land is not the creation of man, it is a gift from God, fighting poverty is a means of building peace," he added.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer II, Andre B. Atega, in Agusan del Norte, also expressed his ardently support to Sumilao Farmers. He quoted the slogan "Land for the farmers, NOT for the foreigners" and "CARP for the farmers, Cha-cha for the Farmers, NOT for Foreigners."

PARO Atega further said, "Let us support CARPER or House Bill 4077 cause this Bill gives Filipino farmers Social Justice, Peace and Development and enables farmers realized their dreams to own a land and uplift their living conditions and also empowered Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries."

"Acquiring a land is a great responsibility to cultivate and develop so that we pay its value to the government. Philippine Archipelago are absolutely depleting comprising 90 million Filipinos living in 30 million hectares of land," as PARO Atega added.

The said forum aimed to give support to the Sumilao Farmers and discussed the importance regarding Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) - One of the keys to respond the challenges among farmers who contributed so much effort to realize their dreams. The power of their vision to support CARP program blots in the heart of every farmer to reach out the genuine Agrarian Reform. Their trust and sacrifices can trigger other farmer sectors to join hand-in-hand for their clamors until victory comes in their lives. (DAR-Agusan del Norte/ PIA-Caraga) [top]

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