After arrest of ‘Tinang 93,’ DAR asks groups to not use farmers for political agenda
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Bernie Cruz on Monday appealed to “leftist” groups to not use farmers for their political agenda.
Cruz’s call came after the 93 individuals — including farmers, student journalists, and foreigners — dubbed Tinang 93, were arrested at Hacienda Tinang in Tarlac.
“Nakikiusap po kami dito sa ating mga kasamahan sa iba’t ibang grupo, huwag na po nating gamitin ‘yung ating mga magsasaka para po isulong kung ano man ‘yung agenda natin,” he appealed in a press conference.
(We are appealing to different groups, do not use our farmers to push for your agenda.)
“Ang kailangan po natin magtulong-tulong po tayo. Magtulong-tulong tayo para masiguro natin na matulungan natin talaga ‘yung mga magsasaka at maging food sufficient ‘yung ating bansa,” he added.
(What we need is to help one another. Let us help one another to assist our farmers and for our country to be food sufficient.)
When asked if leftist groups are behind the incident, Cruz confirmed it.
“Opo. Wala na po tayong itatago-tago dahil talagang makakaliwa talaga ‘yung nandoon,” he replied.
(Yes. Let us not hide anything because leftist groups were really there.)
The secretary said that these groups reached out to Vice President Leni Robredo, who then denounced the mass arrest.
However, Cruz believes that the vice president may have been misinformed. He further called on the detractors to talk to the agency as they are doing their jobs.
“Kung nagiging misinformed — katulad po ng nangyari kay VP Leni Robredo, mukhang misinformed po siya kaya nag-issue siya ng statement last week — hindi naman po natin sila sinisisi,” he said.
(If they are misinformed — like VP Leni Robredo, she may have been misinformed because she issued a statement last week — we are not blaming them.)
“Pero sana po kausapin muna nila ‘yung mga taong involved bago po sila maghusga dahil po tayo ay ginagawa natin ‘yung ating tungkulin at patuloy tayong tutulong or patuloy na gagawin ‘yung ating tungkulin kung ano man ‘yung dapat para matulungan po natin ‘yung ating bansa,” he went on.
(But, I hope they talk first to the people involved before passing judgment because we are doing our jobs and we will continue our mandate to help our country.)
Cruz told the 236 beneficiaries of collective certificates of land ownership award to wait for their validated report. They are eyeing to release within the week the list of land beneficiaries.
Last week, the Tinang 93, who were holding a bangkalan or cooperative planting activity at Hacienda Tinang, were apprehended.
They face charges of malicious mischief, resistance and serious disobedience, and obstruction of justice.
Activist farmers and land reform advocates protested the mass arrest.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.