The bungkalan happened last June 23 in Sanson estate in Sara, Iloilo. Farmers collectively cultivated 7.9 hectares which is part of the 700 hectares Sanson landholding covering about 17 villages of the said town.
Led by Anakpawis and Pamanggas (Paghugpong sang mga Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras), a local chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, farmers successfully planted bananas around the area and camote and cassava to augment the hunger they are experiencing now.
In an interview with Jerlyn Diane, a farmer-leader and spokesperson of Anakpawis Sara chapter, starting September last year after the installation of more than 300 CLOA (Certificate of Land Ownership Award) holders in the said estate, they as original farmers were evicted from the land they used to till for more than 30 years that made them hungry for almost nine months already.
“We are the original tenants, farmers and farm workers of this land. Through are sweat and blood, we made this land productive for us to live and now, because of the wrong implementation of agrarian reform, we were just simply ejected because we don’t have CLOAs,” she added.
More than 300 CLOA holders were installed despite opposition from more than 100 petitioners. The DAR central office has yet reached a decision to the petitions of farmers for inclusion-exclusion and cancellation of CLOAs.
Year 1991 when the DAR covered the Sanson Estate under the agrarian reform program. Upon knowing, then owners made their workers and administrators apply under “preferred beneficiaries”. But more than two decades after, these farmers were not given CLOAs.
“We want justice to be served. Our successful bungkalan also reflects that if we are united, we can improve our dire situation. We call on the DAR and Sec. Mariano to fast-track the investigation process as this will alleviate our hungry situation,” said Diane.
The investigation process of the DAR central office has started last April through an on-site hearing with farmer-petitioners. Another hearing is set this July to cover cases will the same issue as the Sanson estate.Joining the farmers in their bungkalan were members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-Panay. Church group Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) held a mass in the afternoon in celebration of farmers bungkalan for land, food, and justice.