MANILA, April 30, 2008—CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace Chairman and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo assured farmers from Calatagan, Batangas of his and his commission’s help.
Interviewed over Catholic-run Veritas 846 Wednesday morning, the prelate said he met with 55 or so farmers who walked from Batangas province to the Department of Agrarian Reform at Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City.
He said the farmers have been given their certificates of land transfer and some have already paid what is due the government but the property was converted to commercial use after it was found out the land was not agricultural.
“NASSA will help the farmers during their march and in setting up meetings with government officials from the Departments of Agrarian Reform and Environment and Natural Resources.
The farmers left Calatagan at 4:00 A.M. last Monday, April 21 for their 15-day trek which they described as Lakad Kalampag para sa Lupang Pangsakahan Hindi Minahan to assert their agrarian claims over 507 hectares awarded to them in 1990 which was included in the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement of Asturias Industries for mining purposes.
The farmers hope the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Office of the President declare the land in question as agricultural and urged the government to uphold their rights. (Melo M. Acuña /Fr. Nonie Dolor)