Mindanao farmers barred from staging protest at Cebu port stopover
CEBU CITY, Philippines– More than 50 farmers arrived here Tuesday on board Superferry 12 that docked at Pier 6 of the Cebu Port.
When the vessel docked, farmers disembarked to set up placards for possible media coverage but the Cebu Port Authority security dissuaded them from doing so inside the port area.
“We politely asked them (the farmers) that if they had to set up an activity in Cebu, they have to do it outside the pier so as not to bother the passengers. But they said, they are not setting up anything in the pier anyway,” said Corporal Malinche Tisado of the Philippine Navy.
The local media were not allowed to enter the Cebu Port area so Magaway had to go outside the port for interviews.
The farmers were part of the 60 who marched from Bukidnon and Davao to Cagayan de Oro City, where they boarded the vessel.
Dagohoy Magaway, leader of the Task Force Mapalad, said that 55 from their group boarded the vessel bound for Cebu City for a short stopover before it left at around 4 p.m. Tuesday for Manila.
According to Magaway, at least 60 farmers from Mindanao marched from Malaybalay, Bukidnon last Friday to campaign for their cause. Their walk ended in Cagayan on Monday.
Their group included farmers from Davao Oriental and Sur, Davao City and the province of Bukidnon, among others.
During their walk, Magaway said, they were met with kindness by people who even gave them food.
However, only 55 farmers boarded the vessel because the rest did not have money to pay for a round-trip ticket.
Magaway said that the Superferry 12 will arrive in Manila port Wednesday afternoon. Upon arrival there, they would continue their march to Sta. Rosa, Laguna where they will meet with the 700-farmer contingent from the Visayas and Luzon, he added.
From Laguna, the farmers would March to Malacañang for their June 8 dialogue with President Aquino, Magaway said, adding that some bishops have been supporting their cause.
He also called on the public to support the farmers’ cause that the government would address the agrarian reform issue.
Unless the land disputes, which are among the common cause of violence in the country, would be resolved, the violence would continue, Magaway said.
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