As a result of the conversation process in identifying the Roots of the Armed Conflict during the National Summit, CAJP, composed of Sulong Carhrihl, Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, Waging Peace Philippines and Pilgrims for Peace organized “Land to the tillers: Roots of the Armed Conflict: A thematic Workshop on Agrarian Reform” last March 21, 2016 at the NORFIL Foundation Inc. The two-part session (Morning and Afternoon) aimed to inform, educate and urge continued efforts to build toward peace, justice and human rights in the Philippines.
Ms. Norma Dollaga, Pilgrims for Peace, welcomed the participants through the sharing/eating of sweet potato (Kamote), as a symbol of being one with the struggle and journey of the farmers, followed by the individual introduction of the participants.
Ms. Kaye Limpiado, Sulong Carhrihl, shared updates and recommendations that were made during the CAJP National Summit where the call to have ‘Genuine Agrarian Reform’ was emphasized; resulting on why they opted to hold/organize a workshop on Agrarian Reform.
Two (2) resource speakers and four (4) representatives from the Peasant sectors were invited to share and give testimonies in order to deepen the discussion and understanding as to why landlessness is associated as a result of the armed conflict.
Ms. Rosario Bella ‘Ros-B’ Guzman, Research Department of IBON, shared an overview, review and analysis on the landlessness of tillers. She highlighted three (3) focus points on her presentation which were; lack of peace as a result o poverty, lack of genuine agrarian reform worsened by neoliberalism, and genuine agrarian reform towards just peace.
“….Base sa aming pag aanalisa, ginawa o ipinatupad lang ang sinasabing ‘Reporma sa Lupa’ to appease peasant unrest – hindi talaga to address; dahil nga may Peasant unrest kay Magsaysagy, Macapagal at Marcos. ‘Yun din yung pag usbong ng mga successful Socialist States na nagpatupad ng totoong reporma sa agraryo noong 1940’s hanggang 1970’s at ‘yon yung in-address na hindi lumaganap yung komyonismo sa Southeast Asia. Ipinatupad lang ang reporma sa lupa upang bigyan lamang tayo ng ilusyon - para lang may pag-usapan tayo – at hindi para sa pagkamit ng hustisyang panlipunan kung saan nakabatay ang kapayapaan…. ” Ms. Guzman said as she ended her presentation.
Ms. Bobet Coral, member of Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka, (PAKISAMA), discussed about the Evaluation and Emerging Issues of Agrarian Reform as part of the Aquino Administration Legislative Agenda.
An open forum followed after the speaker’s sharing/presentation.
Joseph from Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), Zen Soriano from AMIHAN, Pastor Moses representing the Indigenous People of Cordillera and Jobelosa from Palawan, were the representatives from the Peasant sector from different regions who were invited to share testimonials/experiences that occurred in their areas which strengthens and proves that landlessness is among the roots of the armed conflict. According to them, they are not expecting anything from the Aquino administration.
“… Isa lang naman po ang hiling ko – ngayong 2016, sana po ay maibalik na ang lupa sa aming mga katutubo. Kasi po karamihan sa mga katutubo ay naninirahan nalang sa lupain na hindi naman sakanila – at ang iba naman po ay naninirahan nalang sa gitna ng kalautan. Sana bago bumaba ng pwesto si Aquino, maisip niya na ibalik sa amin ang lupa. Kasi maraming mga katutubo at magsasaka ang nakikipag baka para sa aming lupa. Maraming politiko ang nag sasabi na tutulungan nila kami. Pero hindi ko sigurado kung nakakatulong nga ba sila – kasi parang binababoy nalang nila kami. Ilang pangulo na yung dumraan pero andito parin kami, patuloy naming pinag lalaban yung karapatan sa lupa at yung pera naming P71 Billion pesos...” Ms. Jobelosa stated.
Ms. Beverly Orozco, Waging Peace, facilitated the workshop ‘Open Spaces’ after the testimonials. The participants were asked to share their ideas regarding the agrarian reform and form a group if their ideas have something in common and come up with a conclusion, call or recommendation regarding their topic.
The workshop ended with a collective statement made by the participants.