MANILA, Philippines -- About a thousand people, including protesting farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon attended mass and a prayer vigil for truth, reform and accountability at the Paco Catholic church Monday.
The mass was said after the farmers marched from Caritas Manila in Paco, where they have been staying for two weeks now, to the areas around Malacañang Palace to press their demand to possess 144 hectares of land awarded them under agrarian reform.
The other participants came from church and student groups.
However, although they lashed out at corruption in government, they stopped short of calling for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
A pastoral letter released by the Metropolitan See of Manila described corruption as a violation of the 7th commandment, ?Thou shalt not steal,? and also called it a ?societal cancer? involving the ?subordination of the public good to individual or group interests.?
After the mass, celebrated by Monsignor Jerry Santos, convener and director of the Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines, the participants prayed in the church grounds.
The CEAP, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan then held a closed door meeting.
The Sumilao farmers will stay at the compound of Caritas Manila until their demands are met.