Quantcast
Latest Stories

16 farmers on hunger strike in QC collapse

By

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes said he had no immediate plans of meeting with the protesters. “They do not want to meet me. They just want me to resign,” he said

At least 16 farmers have collapsed since a militant group began a hunger strike on Monday to press demands for the ouster of Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes for allegedly failing to carry out commitments made to them personally by President Aquino six months ago, organizers said Wednesday.

Since Monday, 56 farmers, mostly members of Task Force Mapalad (TFM) based in Negros Occidental province, have holed up on the fourth floor of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) building, where Delos Reyes holds office, to demand his ouster or resignation.

They staged the hunger strike to dramatize the plight of the farmers, who  secured a pledge from Mr. Aquino to speed up the acquisition and distribution of land, the issuance of notices of coverage on landholdings 25 hectares and lower, and the release of P1 billion in loan assistance to agrarian reform beneficiaries.

But after six months, TFM leaders said they were dissatisfied with how Delos Reyes, who was tasked to see through Mr. Aquino’s promise, was keeping the DAR chief’s end of that pledge. Delos Reyes, they said, is the worst-performing agrarian secretary in all administrations.

TFM deputy national coordinator Lanie Factor said her group wanted Mr. Aquino to take over the reins of the DAR himself.

She said the striking farmers were not there to seek a dialogue with Delos Reyes, but to try to get Mr. Aquino’s attention and to appeal to him to listen to their demands.

“We’re no longer interested in hearing what Secretary Delos Reyes has to say. We know what he will say even before he says it,” Factor told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Delos Reyes, in an earlier interview, said he had no immediate plans of meeting with the protesters. “They do not want to meet me. They just want me to resign,” he said.

In the meantime, he said, communication lines will remain open for a negotiation with the protesters “provided they do not turn violent and destroy property.”

Weak and inefficient

TFM president Alberto Jayme, in a statement, said the hunger strike would continue indefinitely until Mr. Aquino responded to the appeal.

He sought the removal of “all bottlenecks in the completion of Carper (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program extension with reforms), including the weak and inefficient leadership of Secretary Delos Reyes.”

Nearly 1 million hectares remain to be distributed under the program, which was launched by the President’s mother, the democracy icon Corazon Aquino, in 1988.

On the third day of the hunger strike, nine farmers were rushed to hospital due to weakness and difficulty in breathing, bringing to 12 the number of the hospitalized, Factor said. She said the protesters were taking only water.

TFM identified them as Marlyn Diaz, 53; Adelita Tranghia, 54; Anthony Tranghia, 23; Velmora Segura, 40; Ryan Hechanova, 26; Gaspar Pancho, 44; Rommel Ramila, 35; Julius Landeza, 26; and Mario Espanola, 32.

The day before, the following were also hospitalized after experiencing chest pains and fainting: Dorita Vargas, 63; Aileen Suspene, 35; Marlyn Gordon, 50; Regino Quizada, 41; Mark Balderas, 24; Joel Pertes, 46; and Monico Alonsabi, 60, TFM said.

A personal promise

One of those who became ill, Dorita Vargas received in June a personal promise from Mr. Aquino that she would receive a certificate of landownership award for Hacienda Canticbil Manalo before year’s end. But the case is still far from being resolved, TFM said.

The farmers said that out of the original aim of distributing 260,000 ha of land for 2012, Delos Reyes lowered the DAR’s target to 180,000 ha.

But “out of this target, only 49,349 hectares of land have been distributed as of Dec. 13,” the group said, citing DAR records.

Delos Reyes, however, said he expected the DAR to have covered between 140,000 and 160,000 ha of land by the end of 2012.

In June 1988,  President Corazon Aquino enacted the program as the centerpiece of a social justice promise to lift  Filipinos from poverty and remove one of the major causes of a simmering communist insurgency.

But due to concerns about the DAR’s low land distribution output, a bill had been filed in the House of Representatives to extend the Carp by another five years. Delos Reyes said he welcomed the proposal but did not think it was necessary.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: agrarian reform , DAR , Government , Hunger Strike , Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Seabed search for missing Malaysian jet to widen
  • Lacson rejects calls to name ‘pork’ execs
  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement