Farmers from Batangas stage noise barrage at Batasan complex: Click this LINK
QTV: Calatagan farmers stage rally in front of Batasan complex: Click this LINK
Banging tambourines and other improvised devices, the peasants marched toward the south gate of the complex at the House of Representatives before mounting a noise barrage while urging lawmakers to pass House Bill 1257.
Authored by Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, HB 1257 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) Extension and Reform Bill seeks a five-year extension of the 20-year-old reform program until 2013.
Ka Uper Aleroza, spokesperson of the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK), said they were pinning their hopes to the immediate passage of the said measure that could finally return 507 hectares of land to the Calatagan farmers.
“Maninindigan kami. Napasimulan na namin ang laban na ito. Naniniwala rin kami na kapag hindi namin ito mapagtatagumpayan ay wala na ring katahimikan ang aming mga buhay. Kaya lahat po kami, hindi kami aalis dito hanggat hindi nila ito inaaksyunan,” Aleroza said.
The group’s nine-day, 300-kilometer trek from Calatagan, Batangas to Manila that started April 21 was prompted by plans by a private company to convert their farming land into a mining site.
Aside from the agriculture sector, the national food security would also be put at stake should the land conversion push through, the group added.
The farmers are asking the Department of Agrarian Reform to stay true to the provisions under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
Further, they called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to cancel its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement with mining company Asturias Industries Inc.
The farmers also said they would attend a plenary session later in the day to air their grievances before lawmakers from the House committee on agrarian reform.
The peasant group initially carried out a prayer vigil at the DENR office in Quezon City two weeks ago then mounted a rally in front of the Supreme Court building in Manila last week. – Mark Merueñas, GMANews.TV