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PIA Press Release

Protesting Sumilao lady farmer hospitalized in Leyte

Tacloban City (October 30) -- One of the protesting Higaonon farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon who are on a 60-day protest march to Manila, was hospitalized at the Leyte Provincial Hospital in the afternoon of October 29 because of exhaustion.

Mayor Roque Tiu of Tanauan, Leyte who is the president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Leyte Chapter, informed the Philippine Information Agency that the he was requested to send the Tanauan Ambulance to Mayorga, Leyte, about 30 minutes away from Tanauan, to transport the lady Sumilao farmer who collapsed while walking towards Dulag and Tolosa.

Mayor Tiu said that he immediately dispatched the town ambulance to Mayorga and was informed that the lady Sumilao farmer was brought to the Leyte Provincial Hospital because of stomach cramps. The lady farmer was given dextrose.

Department of Agrarian Reform Assistant Regional Director Antonio Tan said that the same lady farmer was given dextrose at the Abuyog District Hospital last night. The protesting farmers, according to ARD Tan slept in Abuyog last night.

Today, the lady farmer again walked from Abuyog going to Tolosa, Leyte where they are supposed to sleep tonight.

On October 30, the protesting farmers are expected to arrive in Tacloban City and will sleep at the Sto. Nino Church.

The protesting Higaonon farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon started the Visayas-leg of their 60-day protest march to Manila on Wednesday, October 25, arriving in Liloan. The Visayas leg will last for 16 days.

According to the protesting farmers, their protest march seeks to dramatize the farmers' 10-year clamor for ownership of the 144-hectare Quisumbing Estate which they claim form part of their ancestral land.

They are going to Manila to request President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to intercede for them. In 1995, the farmers were issued a certificate of land ownership award over the estate but Malacanang later canceled the CLOA.

Information received by the Philippine Information Agency stated that the farmers are also advocating the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform program which is supposed to expire next year.

According to verified information, the farmers who were originally 54 when they left San Vicente Village at about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon of October 10. are now down to 51 when their medical support team decided not to let Sonia Bayo and Dote Agustin to continue with the walk.

A week of walking had taken physical toll on the two marchers with Agustin suffering from recurrent fever while Bayo, with recurring stomach pains and vomiting. Agustin's wife, Emerita Buclasan, was forced to return to Bukidnon to attend to her sick husband. (PIA 8) [top]

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