Kampuhan for land and justice:
Peasants of Buffalo, Tamaraw and Limus in Bukidnon
fight for the land
they have tilled for years
Maramag and Valencia, Bukidnon
May 25, 2011
■ Update as of May 31
■ Operation Tikad: Peasant women assert right to life, insist on tilling lands
Peasants of Buffalo, Tamaraw and Limus in the towns of Maramag and Valencia in the province of Bukidnon continue to fight for their right to the lands they tilled since the 80’s. The communities have a 400 hectare land planted with rice. This is the area where the Central Mindanao University administration plans to take from the peasants, which would make more than 800 families search for another area as a source of food and sustenance.
|Photos courtesy of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas - Amihanang Mindanao|
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas
MINBISCON Bldg., IFI Compund, Bulua
9000 Cagayan de Oro City
Tel no.: (088) 850-5854
Mobile no.: 0905-2088-269
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mayo 25, 2011
THE PLIGHT OF THE FARMERS OF BUFFALO, TAMARAW AND LIMUS IN THEIR STRUGGLE AGAINST THE CENTRAL MINDANAO UNIVERSITY (CMU) ADMINISTRATION
Long has it been since the peasants have struggled for a just and genuine land reform. In the backdrop plunder and of thievery imposed upon them by the few landed elites and their foreign partners institutionalized by a good-for-nothing Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The peasants have always been marginalized.
On that note, the inhabitants of Buffalo, Tamaraw and Limus in the towns of Maramag, Valencia in the province of Bukidnon continue to fight for their rights to the lands they tilled since the 80’s. The communities have a 400 hectare land planted monotonously with rice. This is the area where the CMU administration plans to take from the peasants, which would make more than 800 families search for another area as a source of food and sustenance.
One of the reasons why the vast and fertile lands of BTL is in danger of being taken over is that the CMU administration plans to expand its area to make way for new piggeries, poultry houses and rice fields. But the proposed project is unjustified; the BTL area is too big an area for such. On hindsight, another key actor is involved in the land-grabbing fiasco; Davao Ventures Corporation (DAVCO) intends to utilize the BTL area to expand their pineapple and banana plantations.
To facilitate the aforementioned reasons, by virtue of BOR resolution No. 81, on march 28, 2011 the CMU land problem task force. The said task force is to be held responsible to any issue pertaining to the “Informal Settlers” living in areas hit by the proposed expansion. After two failed meetings, (May 2 and 18, 2011), the farmer’s aspirations of finally owning the land went crashing down. The Administration mounted a lot of alibis during the course of discussions and has even strengthened their drive to push through with their proposal.
The two camps failed to reach an agreement therefore the negotiations were called to a halt. The administration wants the peasants to till the land for only the next three years with rental of Php1.00 per hectare. After the expiration of the contracted three years the peasants would vacate the area without the promise of a decent relocation site. The peasants would be required to sign individual contracts, which are not renewable every year. According to the administration, their proposition would be of great help to the farmers since they would be able to save for the upcoming demolition. The peasant’s however, rejected the proposition and that they are willing to pay 3,000-5,000 as long as they would have to continue tilling the land. And out of administration’s desperation, it baited free tuition for the farmer’s children hoping that they would abandon their cause.
In addition, the administration has initially calculated the annual income per hectare amounting to Php 40,000/cropping. This is a big question for the farmers for their income is dependent on several reasons.
The unjustified use of force to quell the resistance of the farmers is also a big issue. University guards are harassing the farmers.
In protest, the farmers staged a “Kampuhan sa Mag-uuma” of BTL infront of the CMU campus along with other people’s organization from other municipalities of Bukidnon. With the purpose of registering to the Administration that they will not stop in their fight, and that the trickery has to stop and that the land should be awarded to them. Running simultaneously with the Kampuhan, is the Operasyon Tikad, where some of the peasants are tilling the land to show to the CMU administration that they are the rightful owners of the land. In fact, as the statement is being written the peasants are being harassed and that their farm equipments are being confiscated. They were even threatened that if they would not stop the CMU will request Military assistance to quell them.
Despite all the harassments the organizations stand firm and united.
Fight for land, honour and justice!
Secretary General, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas
Northern Mindanao Region (KMP-NMR)
The Final CMU Proposal
|▼ Harassment in Limus ▼|
|UPDATE as of May 31|
At around 2 pm, the farmers were surprised to see
a bigger group of about 40 armed men enter the area where they are
tilling. The armed men came in two clusters, one came from field 1 and the
other came from field 3 bringing with them a tractor. Two of the men were
on full battle gear. All of them, however, carry long fire arms. This
time, these were not only guards. Based on witnesses, some of the men are
police officers wearing guard uniforms. There were also 7 military
officers who stayed 400 meters away from scuffle, they also carry long
fire arms and are on full battle gear.
activists of national democracy there is no substitute to going to the
countryside and making concrete social investigation in order to determine
the oppression and exploitation imposed on the peasantry by the landlord
---- Jose Maria Sison, "Land reform and national democracy", delivered in Pilipino before the first Central Luzon Regional Conference of Kabataang Makabayan, at Republic Central Colleges, Angeles City, on October 31, 1965; and in English at the College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines, Los Ba¤os, Laguna on March 23, 1966.)