Mar 23, 2008

Thanksgiving for the Sumilao Farmers

Traditionally, the term "Thanksgiving" is associated in the US with the harvest celebration traditionally held on the 25th of October each year and marked by a lavish dinner attended by members of the entire family. It is a commemoration of the bounties received during the previous year, as well as any significant and life-changing experiences that may have occurred. In this context then, I'd probably want to host a nationwide Thanksgiving celebration today for the farmers of the Philippines, particularly the Sumilao farmers who today have scored a major victory both for themselves and for all the beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, more commonly known as CARP. It was announced today that the San Miguel Corporation has finally agreed to turn over ALL 144 HECTARES of prime agricultural land to its rightful owner, the Higaonons of Bukidnon. This marks a major breakthrough in the implementation of the Land Reform Program, and is hopefully a precedent to more land redistributions in the Philippines.

When we acknowledge the role that farmers play in providing the staple of the Filipino diet - rice - and give them the corresponding respect and dignity that they deserve, there can be no stopping us from being the change we want to see, and making others see the country that we can be.

At this point, there are many things I'd like to be thankful for;
For the Sumilao farmers and their companions, for fighting ceaselessly for a cause found on justice and basic human dignity;
For the innumerable youth who supported Lakaw Sumilao day-in and day-out by knowing, presenting and acting on the issues behind the case;
For the institutions who continued to support the Sumilao farmers by providing logistic and material support to both the farmers in the metropolis and their families in the provinces (special thanks to COSCA and the DLSU Student Council who have tirelessly thrown their weight to support the Sumilao farmers);
And most of all, the undefinable force that some call GOD and which I refuse to identify, for constantly fueling the hopes and dreams of everyone on the side of JUSTICE.


Complete story from SMC agrees to return Sumilao land to farmers -- lawyer

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