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sumilao farmers : walking for 2 months for justice

Sumilao farmers: We smell DAR betrayal


By Jerome Aning
Inquirer
Last updated 03:21am (Mla time) 12/07/2007


MANILA, Philippines -- The Higaonon farmers who are asking the government to distribute the 144-hectare former Quisumbing property in Sumilao, Bukidnon, expressed the fear Thursday that Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman would make decisions that would “grossly disappoint them.”

“We smell a betrayal,” Napoleon Merida Jr., chair of the San Vicente Landless Farmers Association (SALFA) and leader of the marchers, said in reaction to statements made by Pangandaman following his Tuesday visit to the property now owned by San Miguel Foods Inc. (SMFI).

Merida said Pangandaman sounded more like a public relations man for SMFI than a Cabinet secretary, saying: “We can see through his words that he is more on the side of SMFI than of the farmers.”

Earlier Thursday, the farmers and their supporters numbering around 100 marched in the rain and picketed the House of Representatives in Quezon City to call the congressmen’s attention to their plight.

Apayao Rep. Elias Bulut Jr., chair of the House committee on agrarian reform, and some of its members met with the farmers and representatives of peasant groups to learn how the agrarian reform law could be improved to prevent problems like that of the Sumilao farmers.

Bulut said his panel was obliged to extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), due to expire next year. “We hope to address the loopholes in the law. That will be where we may institute reforms,” he said.

The farmers, who walked all the way from Sumilao to Manila for two months to press their demands, later proceeded to the Department of Agrarian Reform, vowing not to leave until Pangandaman decided on their case.

Pangandaman met with the farmers briefly Thursday night and told them that he was giving the two parties to the controversy three days to submit their position papers before he makes his decision.

Cease-and-desist order

Marlon Manuel, a lawyer of the farmers, told reporters that “Pangandaman seemed to be cooking up arguments to avoid issuing a cease-and-desist order” against SMFI, a subsidiary of the San Miguel conglomerate, and placing the property under the CARP.

He said the facts of the case remained “plain and simple,” since the land was awarded to the farmers through the issuance of collective land ownership awards (CLOAs).

Norberto Quisumbing, who then owned the land, applied for conversion and proposed a five-year development plan.

Malacañang approved the conversion based on the proposed plan. The farmers protested it, but the Supreme Court upheld the order, and the CLOAs of the farmers were cancelled.

The farmers said Quisumbing did not implement the development plan, thus violating the terms of the conversion order. The farmers said the conversion period had lapsed but Quisumbing sold the land to SMFI.

The farmers said SMFI did not comply with the conversion plan either, so the land should be covered by CARP and redistributed to the farmers.

Distorting facts

Manuel also accused Pangandaman of distorting the facts when he said that the conversion period started with the issuance by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) of a development permit.

“The HLURB permit was issued to SMFI for construction of the hog farm. It has nothing to do with the conversion. Why did Quisumbing not apply for a development permit during the five years of conversion period? The answer should be obvious to Pangandaman. Quisumbing performed a hoax. He did not intend to develop the land,” Manuel said.

Manuel also belittled Pangandaman’s claim that the sale of the land was aboveboard and expressed doubt whether a sale really took place between Quisumbing and SMFI.

Conversion order

“We have not seen a copy of the deed of sale. We have been asking for a copy and they’re not providing it,” Manuel said.

On Wednesday, Pangandaman said there were several unassailable facts that would guide him in deciding on the farmers’ demand to issue a cease-and-desist order against the construction of a hog farm on the property by SMFI which bought the property from Quisumbing in 2002.

He said that the conversion order issued by Malacañang in 1994 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1999 still stands, and that the CARP law did not state that a new owner of a disputed property was bound by the conversion pledges made by the previous owner.

Pangandaman also said that the five-year period in which the landowner should have implemented the development plan as required by the conversion order started only in 2004 upon issuance of a development permit by the HLURB.

Pangandaman also noted that the sale of the property to SMFI appeared aboveboard.

SMFI development plan

In a statement Thursday, SMFI said that it was invited by the local government to invest in Sumilao, where the primary income was growing corn which was subject to fluctuating prices.

SMFI said that to improve livelihood of both farmers and other residents it committed to build a multibillion-peso state-of-the-art vertically integrated agro-industrial estate for Sumilao. It will be equipped with modern feedmills, poultry and piggery farms, wastewater treatment facilities, a reservoir and provisions for forest development.

It said the blueprint was done in consultation with the farmers, who have since joined the protest movement.

P2.4-B investment

SMFI said that to date, 21 of 40 buildings that will make up the agro-industrial estate had been completed. Investment in Sumilao will amount to an estimated P2.4 billion, which it said was far greater than any projected future value of the land. With a report from Norman Bordadora
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Comments

  • 'Kumusta na kayo? Sana mabuti. Hindi ko alam kung nabalitaan niyo na ang tungkol sa mga kapatid nating magsasaka na naglakad patungong Maynila mula pa sa Sumilao, sa Bukidnon (sa hindi nakakaalam, sa Mindanao po ito. 1,700km ang nilakad nila). For your convenience, ipo-post ko dito ang link kung saan mababasa niyo ang kwento nila. Eto po :

    http://sumilaomarch.multiply.com/journal/item/2/Full_Position_Paper_of_SUMILAO_FARMERS

    Anyway, busy ba kayo sa darating na thursday Dec13? Nandun ang mga kapatid nating magsasaka ngayon naka-camp out sa labas ng Department of Agrarian Reform sa may QC circle, eh balak ko sana sila dalawin. Kumustahin lang. Haranahan siguro ng konti. Kahit ano, mapasaya lang sila ng kahit konti. Samahan niyo ako? Kung ok sa inyo, kita kita nalang tayo dun thursday mga 8pm? Salamat po..

    -rico b'


    (top photo by k. bacongco from http://www.flickr.com/photos/kitoy/)



    ... got this from rico blanco's multiply site
  • baludoybaludoy Nag me-meron PEx Expert 🎖️
    nag camp out din sila last week sa ateneo de manila university belarmine field at doon sila nag palipas ng gabi pag dating nila ng maynila. doon nag karoon din ng konting ng interaction among the student body, well-wishers, and other kibitzers. meron ding mga bandang tumugtog, nakisalo at nakidamay sa kanila
  • Swerte naman nila...maglalakad lang eh may mga LUPA na reward. Ako eh nagbabayad pa sa gym para lang mag lakad sa thread mill.

    Iba na talaga ang buhay ngayon.
  • Padayon mga kaigsoonan kong nakigbisog para sa tinuod nga reporma sa yuta!
  • If the law says the land isn't theirs, the law has to be followed regardless of whether they walked in heat and cold to Manila.

    Problems like this will continue as long as there are loopholes in the CARP that allow big landowners to take advantage of poor farmers. Instead of conducting endless investigations in aid of publicity when they are not going on junkets, our legislators should not wait for another Hacienda Luisita to happen before they remedy the defects in the CARP.
  • BeerhandBopBeerhandBop PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    "Swerte naman nila...maglalakad lang eh may mga LUPA na reward. Ako eh nagbabayad pa sa gym para lang mag lakad sa thread mill.

    Iba na talaga ang buhay ngayon"

    nag lalakad ka nga, naka AIRCON ka naman.

    sila umulan at umaraw ng pagkatindi tindi, wala silang magagawa about it.
    iba na talaga ang mga ***** ngayon.
  • talk 'bout scapegoats. it's so disheartening to know that those who dare not come down from their pedestal inflict tortures to hapless farmers because of their selfish endeavor to make more money. marami na talagang gahaman ngayon.tigers who hide behind a sheep's cloak. these perennial clamors will still go unheard.haay.
  • Mga musikero sumuporta sa Sumilao farmers

    Galit na galit ang mga Sumilao farmers sa kautusan ni Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman na panatilihin ang "status quo" at irespeto ng mga magsasaka ang pagmamay-ari ng San Miguel Foods Inc. sa pinagtatalunang 144 na ektaryang lupa sa Bukidnon.

    Dismayado man ang mga magsasaka, pinalakas naman ang kanilang loob ng grupong "Rock Ed Philippines" na binubuo ng mga musikero.

    Dumating ang dating lead singer ng Rivermaya na si Rico Blanco at nag-alay ng ilang awitin.

    “Sa munting mga awit ko ay mapaligaya sila kahit sandali lang. Alam naman natin na ang pinagdadaanan nila,” pahayag ni Blanco.

    Si Hilda Sanahan, tila nakalimutan ang hirap at pagod na binuno sa dalawang buwang paglalakad habang pinapanood si Blanco.

    Sa sobrang tuwa, nilapitan niya at niyakap ang singer.

    Nag-alay din ng awitin si Noel Cabangon.

    “Ang musika ay mahalaga para buhayin ang kanilang diwa at maipagpatuloy nila ang kanilang pakikibaka,” sabi ni Cabangon.

    Para sa mga musikero at mang-aawit, ang kanilang ginawa ay pagbibigay pugay sa kabayanihan ng Sumilao farmers.

    Tuloy ang kanilang protesta habang pang cease and desist order na ipinalabas ang DAR para ipatigil na ng San Miguel Foods Inc. ang pagpapatayo ng hog farm sa lupang pinaglalaban ng mga magsasaka.

    Sa Biyernes ng umaga ay babarikadahan nila ang gates ng DAR para hindi makapasok ang mga empleyado doon.
  • this incident is just too COMMERCIALIZE! ang daming pumapel at gumamit ng issue. hay buhay!

    Pero kung tatanugin nyo ang real issue eh hindi naman talaga alam ng taong bayan.
  • if ever na ibigay ang lupa sa mga farmers claiming na dapat sa kanila iyon, use them sa farming...... Ang hirap kasi pag naibigay mo na ang rights na kanila yun, ibebenta nila sa iba para kumita kaagad. I heard yung news about DOLE (pineapple) and the people claiming na ang ginagawang pineapple planting area ng DOLE ay pag-aari ng mga taong lumaki sa lugar ng yun. I dont remember what province sa mindanao is it. Dole grant their request na ibigay uli yun sa mga tao na taga-roon, Even though na binayaran ng DOLE to own that farm lot. Ang ginawa ng mga tao is ibenta ang mga lupa, bumili ng tricycle, pinanggawa ng bahay and other materials things instead na ipagpatuloy na lang nila ang pineapple planting. So nangyari wala rin naging hanapbuhay ang mga taga-roon but instead iba nag-abroad or naging empleyado ng DOLE. nakakalungkot isipin. Is there any law ba dapat before ibigay ang lupa claiming na meron anotations kung ano ang dapat gawin sa lupa....
  • An executive order was issued in favor of the Sumilao farmers, as per the news. At the very least, the farmers are now given basis to reclaim their land. It's still a tedious process since they can very well expect that the adverse party will file an action in court for the 144 hectare land in dispute.

    I just hope the land will be given to the people who are the real owners of the land.
  • drhenry4drhenry4 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Baka naman ito eh isisi pa din kay GMA? :rolleyes:
  • Ang next daw na mag martsa eh mga taga hacienda luisita 100,000 daw yung farmers. Lahat ngayon na dinaya sa carp eh mag martsa na papunta sa malacanang.

    What a spoiled nation!
  • It's a good thing that the President resolved the issue of the Sumilao farmers. To those who expect more from the President should understand that it's the least the Chief Executive can do because there are still procedures to be followed. Otherwise, it would seem that the people dictate upon our leaders. To the Sumilao farmers, they better make sure that they are the real recipients of the land. There are statements from people there in Bukidnon about these farmers. I hope no other group exploit the poor farmers in order to have a share in the land.
  • I support the cause of the sumilao farmers. These are REAL Higaonon farmers, not leftists or communists pretending to be farmers. It is also good na wala silang pinapasok na mga politiko na gustong makisawsaw at pumapil sa kanilang martsa at mga hinanaing.....
  • drhenry4drhenry4 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Ang next daw na mag martsa eh mga taga hacienda luisita 100,000 daw yung farmers. Lahat ngayon na dinaya sa carp eh mag martsa na papunta sa malacanang.

    What a spoiled nation!

    This is true. Spare no one.
    Hacienda Luisita is CARP's Greatest Menopausal Blunder in the entire Phil history.
  • Ipinasailalim na nga sa CARP ang lupa. As far as the president is concerned, she has already granted the petition of the farmers in regard to the revocation of the conversion order. But it doesn't mean the land will be automatically given to the farmers because SMFI will surely challenge the order. They have to go through the required processes before they can secure ownership of the land.

    On the other hand, there is a likelihood that the efforts of the government to give the land to the Sumilao farmers might also end up the same way other cases of land distribution did, i.e. the farmers sell their land instead of using them for farming. If the land legally belonged to SMFI, at least everyone will benefit and for a longer term as the SMFI plans will mean more jobs for the local residents.

    Unfortunately, how a farmer will use the land that legally belongs to him is his own business. One of the loopholes in the CARP is the lack of stipulation that the land granted to the farmers should be exclusively used for farming or agricultural purposes.
  • I support the cause of the sumilao farmers. These are REAL Higaonon farmers, not leftists or communists pretending to be farmers. It is also good na wala silang pinapasok na mga politiko na gustong makisawsaw at pumapil sa kanilang martsa at mga hinanaing.....

    At least only the Church people were there, kahit parang mas marami pa sila kaysa sa mga magsasaka mismo. I think the priests backing the farmers have also taken on a more mature role in the matter, arranging a meeting with the president and truly helping to resolve the issue instead of inciting anti-government sentiments among the farmers.

    The fact that the farmers-protesters did not create any trouble makes me more sympathetic to their plight and their cause. Those who need to stir chaos to help their cause only create doubts as to the validity of such cause.
  • At least only the Church people were there, kahit parang mas marami pa sila kaysa sa mga magsasaka mismo. I think the priests backing the farmers have also taken on a more mature role in the matter, arranging a meeting with the president and truly helping to resolve the issue instead of inciting anti-government sentiments among the farmers.

    The fact that the farmers-protesters did not create any trouble makes me more sympathetic to their plight and their cause. Those who need to stir chaos to help their cause only create doubts as to the validity of such cause.

    Walking all the way to Manila did show their sincerity and their persistence in reclaiming their land. If these people were paid, as some suspect, I don't think they will be able to stand this suffering for a very long time. The land was all they had. It means their livelihood. To take it away their "small pot of earth" would be tantamount to ending their chances for a better life. It's good the president reversed the conversion. At least the farmers can now have a good chance in reclaiming their land.
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