STUDENTS from De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University launched Buklod Bakod campaign to help farmers in Calatagan, Batangas prevent mining undertaking by Asturias Industries.
The students will go to Bgys. Baha and Talibayog in Calatagan to help farmers fence their farmlands.
The initiative is spearheaded by DLSU-Center for Social Concern and Action, DLSU-Committee on National Issues, the DLSU Student Council, the Ateneo Simbahang Lingkod Bayan, and the Ateneo University Student Council.
The students groups expressed their support for the farmers and vowed to defend the gains of agrarian reform.
Last April, the Calatagan farmers walked for more than 300 kilometers to demand for the revocation of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement issued by the government to Asturias, the basis of which is a 1965 Bureau of Mines findings that the farmlands are part of a 2,000-hectare “mineralized” area.
The farmers renewed their appeal to the government to revoke the mining agreement.
“A food crisis is imminent. The government must not allow productive farmlands to be converted for mining,” said Ka Uper Aleroza, chairperson of the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK).
For her part, Ka Virgie Malaluan, spokesperson of the Baha-Talibayog farmers, said that Asturias should not be given a velvet glove treatment.
The farmers said that despite a suspension order on mining exploration permit in the contested area, the Asturias Industries, tried to sneak in mining equipments in the property last Saturday, June 28, 2007, in the guise of holding a medical mission and mangrove reforestation for the farming community. Jeffrey C. Tiangco