The continuing persecution of peasant activists who are struggling for their right to the land they’re tilling is outright condemnable.
For months, the peasants of Brgy. Cantipay, Carmen, Cebu have been frustrating efforts of the town mayor to fence off their farm lots. In the entire time, they have withstood goons and police sent out by local government to quell their opposition to the illegal fencing.
Armed only with the legitimacy of their cause, they stood firmly in protesting the abuse of authority amidst partisan display of police might by the local executive. To highlight the justness of their cause and firmness of their resolve, the Cantipay Farmers’ Association (CAFA) filed administrative complaints against the mayor before the Office of the Ombudsman on July 10, 2012. While harboring no high hopes on our reactionary courts, the peasants would like to demonstrate that they would not cringe from whatever arena their struggle would take them in defense of their rights.
In reprisal, the local police manufactured charges of theft against the poor peasants. Without due notice, they forced their way to the house of Erlinda Into, chairperson of CAFA and of KMP-Cebu, on July 24 2012 at about 12:30 PM. They manhandled and arrested her and her husband Leonides Into, a member of CAFA, as they were eating their lunch, without due consideration to the presence of a child and other family members. The Into couple were among those who signed the complaint against the mayor.
Not satisfied with that, the police would slap Erlinda and Leonides with another case of illegal possession of firearm and direct assault. The victims are now penalized to languish in jail due to the high cost of bail recommended by the police for their freedom.
And such is the bleak picture of how rights of small farmers fare in the agrarian front. Reeling from the bastardization of justice in the mass arrest of peasants in Hacienda Gantuangco in Aloguinsan, Cebu, CARP–or what is left of its tattered self–is battered by another wave of agrarian conflict in Northern Cebu. Here is another CARP-covered area bound to be swept down the drain.
In instances such as this, reality exposes who is the real “boss ko” of the present dispensation. For while Noynoy bragged in his SONA to distribute all CARPable areas, he is not lifting a finger to help the supposed farmer-beneficiaries; but is allowing the landlords to have their way through his inaction.
In instances such as this, motherhood statements are clearly not what is needed, but clear and categorical action favoring the poor and marginalized farmers.###