Archive for the ‘CARP’ Category

Fajardo Estate Land Dispute: A happy ending for the Banasi Farmers who marched to Malacanang

December 26, 2008

The fifty-seven (57) farmers from the Fajardo Estate in Bicol who walked for 17 days to Malacanang Palace to plead their case finally got their wish. The tillers of the 123-hectare land in Banasi, Bula, Camarines Sur had the order of Sec. Eduardo Ermita canceling their land titles recinded on December 19, 2008. The happy farmers now have the right to use the land, ending 35 years of round-about with the law.

“This is the happiest Christmas of my life. We have already sacrificed a lot and we hope that with the decision of DAR we could finally rest our case and experience security in the lands that we till,” said Jess Bergantin, president of the Banasi Agrarian Reform Farmer-Beneficiaries Association (BARFA) who were among those who walked the 444-kilometer stretch from Camarines Sur to Manila.. “—Bicol Mail (12/ 25/08, Escandor, J, Jr)

According to Atty Arlene Bag-ao, one of the supporters of the farmers, the march to Malacanang could have been avoided if the case was handled as is—-a simple legal issue that favors the agriculture workers to own the disputed land. Some of the farmers said they walked to Manila because a known Malacanang insider, Atty Manny Gaite with family ties with the Fajardos, worked against their favor by helping void their land title.

“Elaine Teope, campaign coordinator of BARFA, revealed that among those who drafted the order that cancelled the Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (Cloas) of the farmers-beneficiaries was Lawyer Manny Gaite, the guy from the Office of the President who figured in the Senate hearing regarding the P500,000 distributed to local government executives early this year. “—Bicol Mail (12/ 25/08, Escandor, J, Jr)

The success of the Banasi farmers signals the growing awareness and activism of many agricultural workers in the Philippines. With problems delaying the full implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP,) more land decisions by the government are likely to be contested by farmers and their militant supporters. (Photo Credits: Pakisamagallery) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Camarines Sur farmer’s 444 kilometer march to Malacanang” Posted by mesiamd at 12/02/2008

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GMA’s ditch-low approval rating, her kiddie “payback package" for OFW’s & a big store in Naga City rises

December 17, 2008

Negative (-30)

President Gloria M. Arroyo gets the lowest satisfaction rating in 2008, much lower than the (-)9 she got the year before. The Social Weather Survey (SWS) result from the 4th quarter poll at the end of November is thought to be bad. It attests to the unpopularity of the administration that’s wracked by corruption and nepotism, believed to be worse than that of Ferdinand Marcos.

Unresolved issues like joblessness, floundering economics, the Bolante fertilizer scam, Euro generals money laundering case, unabated maritime disasters, journalist killings, charter-change controversy, poor education and healthcare, Mindanao secessionist problem, CARP extension, unimplemented cheap medicine law, and the big C (Corruption) noticed by watchers abroad are in the long list of problems that stun the public.

P1.4 trillion

It’s the 2009 national budget which is approved in the second and last deliberation in the senate. Notable in the budget are less allocations for the Department of Agrarian Reform by P3.1 billion, Energy P61 million, Finance 13 million, Local Governments P436 million, Justice P215 million, Armed Forces P75 million, Public Works P3.4 billion, Social Welfare P243 million, and National Economic Development Authority by P25 million. The budget cuts on certain services are allocated in other areas. A P10 billion economic fund is being considered, but no appropriations are set aside for the Office of the Press Secretary, the Philippine Tourism Authority and Kilos Asenso.

4,000

SM, the large monopolistic mall-chain owned by business mogul Henry Sy, Sr. in the Phiippines, is making preparations to open its outlet in Naga City on March 2009. About 4,000 job-seekers are needed in the operation which is estimated to generate $12 million in wages and P40 million in taxes. Expected to compete with small stores of the area, SM may draw shoppers in neighboring towns.

The exact effects of such a huge business in the city of 160,000 people aren’t completely known. Will there be congestion in the city? Will money windfall benefit the Bicolanos? Will profits be carted away from the area and render the mom-and-pop stores struggling to survive? Did the Naga City officials do a thorough study on the cost-benefit of approving an SM store?

50,000

As a result of the global economic crisis, the number of Filipinos abroad expected to be laid off has increased. Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo has laid out a “payback package” assistance for retrenched overseas foreign workers (OFW’s,) a tepid offering of skills training, scholarships, and measly P10,000 ($200) to start a “business” upon their return to the country.

15,000

Participants of the Manila’s anti-charter change (cha-cha) rally were larger than expected, according to Makati mayor Jejomar Binay, the president of the United Opposition. More protests against Cha-cha and other frustrating issues are on the works with broadened support from various organizations. (Photo Credits: gmaresign; doublefault2; arty; gmaresign=0=

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Roadblocks for Bicol Farmers to Malacanang?

December 3, 2008

The farmers of Banasi Farm of Bula, Bula Camarines Sur has reached Manila on Tuesday, December 2, 2008. However, they were blocked on at least two occasions, one on their way to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) office and then near Nagtahan Bridge where they met with palace representatives, interrupting their 444 kilometer walk to Malacanang.—GMANewsT TV (12/-3/08)

The Bicol farmers weren’t impressed by Malacanang’s response to their demand. They asked President Gloria Macapagal to see for herself the land in question to better understand their plight.

The story is a good study on how the government treats the poor farmers from the provinces compared the wealthy and influential who have connections and are concentrated in Manila. Demand marches like these which are supported by groups with socialistic orientation including the Catholic Church are expected as a result of the delay and limitations of CARP implementation, the apparent inquities levelled on the poor, and the growing politicalization of farmers in the a climate of economic hardship and emerging global economy. Photo Credit: Pakisamagallery) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Nuns abducted in Kenya, farmers from Camarines Sur march to Malacanang & the US national debt of $10,664,871,159,771.01 bogs the nation”Posted by mesiamd at 11/28/2008; “Camarines Sur farmer’s 444 kilometer march to Malacanang” Posted by mesiamd at 12/02/08).

Camarines Sur farmer’s 444 kilometer march to Malacanang

December 2, 2008

There is sympathy elicited by the pictures of about 50 poor farmers from Banasi, Bula, Camarines Sur who embarked on a march to press their demand that Malacanang reverse the order of Executive Sec. Eduardo Ermita which kept them out of the land awarded to them 11 years ago under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The basis of Ermita’s decision was that the 123 hectare property previously owned by the Fajardo family of Baao Camarines Sur didn’t qualify to be awarded to the farmers because it was used for grazing cattle, instead of agriculture.

This led to the revocation of the certificates of land ownership award (CLOA,) of 57 farmers who were beneficiaries of the land distribution. Ermita’s decision ignored the earlier Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) rulings in 1999 and 2007 which favored the planters.

Started on November 17, 2008, the 444 kilometer walk includes 82-year old Pobleo Clavero, the oldest of the group of farmers who wants to leave his 1.7 hectare land to his grandchildren when he dies. Their leader, Jess Bergantin, says they have to resort to what the agricultural workers from Sumilao, Bukidnon did a year ago to get Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo’s favorable decision. The group are still negotiating the dangerous winding highway towards Manila where they hope to get a solution to their land problem.

The case of the Fajardo Estate farmers shows the limitations of the CARP, which continues to pose problems to farmers 20 years since the program was started. Though there have been successes in the awarding of land to worthy beneficiaries, many however are blocked by landlords and the system of CARP implementation.

The bureaucracy of the DAR that impedes the acquisition of land, the reversals of award decisions like the Sumilao and Fajardo Estates, the controversial land use, conversions (i.e. subdivisions) and funding of the program are among the problems that stand on the way for the full CARP implementation. For lack of education and know-how, many farmers have no sufficient means to make their acquired land productive. About half of the beneficiaries end up not tilling the soil, decreasing productivity, and illegally selling the land.

As I watched the photos of the Fajardo Estate farmers marching from Banasi, Bula Camarines Sur, I could only think whether their lives had improved since CARP was instituted. Braving the wind, sun and rain, some who walked barefoot were very tired, their calloused feet endured the searing heat of asphalt in the highway; others had their skin abraded by friction caused by cheap sandals they wore.

From their faces, I could guess most of the farmers had meager education preventing them from fully understanding their legal rights under the land reform program. Their looks made me suspect their financial position didn’t improve. They had been as poor as the days when CARP wasn’t part of their lives. Photo Credit Pakisamagallery)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Nuns abducted in Kenya, farmers from Camarines Sur march to Malacanang & the US national debt of $10,664,871,159,771.01 bogs the nation”Posted by mesiamd at 11/28/2008

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Camarines Sur farmers’ 444 kilometer march to Malacanang

December 1, 2008

There is sympathy elicited by the pictures of about 50 poor farmers from Banasi, Bula, Camarines Sur who embarked on a march to press their demand that Malacanang reverse the order of Executive Sec. Eduardo Ermita which kept them out of the land awarded to them 11 years ago under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The basis of Ermita’s decision was that the 123 hectare property previously owned by the Fajardo family of Baao Camarines Sur didn’t qualify to be awarded to the farmers because it was used for grazing cattle, instead of agriculture.

This led to the revocation of the certificates of land ownership award (CLOA,) of 57 farmers who were beneficiaries of the land distribution. Ermita’s decision ignored the earlier Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) rulings in 1999 and 2007 which favored the farmers.

Started on November 17, 2008, the 444 kilometer walk includes 82-year old Pobleo Clavero, the oldest of the group of farmers who wants to leave his 1.7 hectare land to his grandchildren when he dies. Their leader, Jess Bergantin, says they have to resort to what the farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon did a year ago to get Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo’s favorable decision. The group are still negotiating the dangerous winding highway towards Manila where they hope to get a solution to their land problem.

The case of the Fajardo Estate farmers shows the limitations of the CARP, which continues to pose problems to farmers 20 years since the program was started. Though there have been successes in the awarding of land to worthy beneficiaries, many however are blocked by landlords and the system of CARP implementation.

The bureaucracy of the DAR that impedes the acquisition of land, the reversals of award decisions like the Sumilao and Fajardo Estates, the controversial land use, conversions and funding of the program are among the problems that stand on the way for the full CARP implementation. For lack of education and know-how, many farmers have no sufficient means to make their acquired land productive. About half of the beneficiaries end up not tilling, decreasing productivity, and illegally selling the land.

As I watched the photos of the Fajardo Estate farmers marching from Banasi, Bula Camarines Sur, I could only think whether their lives had improved since CARP was instituted. Some who walked barefoot were very tired, their calloused feet endured the searing heat of asphalt in the highway; others had their skin abraded by friction caused by cheap sandals they wore. From their faces, I could guess most of the farmers had meager education preventing them of fully understanding their rights under the land reform program. Their looks made me suspect their financial position didn’t improve. They had been as poor as the days when CARP wasn’t part of their lives. Photo Credit Pakisamagallery)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Nuns abducted in Kenya, farmers from Camarines Sur march to Malacanang & the US national debt of $10,664,871,159,771.01 bogs the nation”Posted by mesiamd at 11/28/2008

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