March 9, 2020
Muslim women marched on International Working Women’s Day not only to press for equal rights but also for the Duterte forces to leave Marawi City and allow them to reclaim their land and property.
On March 8, Prof. Dalomabi Bula, focal person of Reclaim Marawi Movement (RMM), said in a press briefing that “almost three years have passed after the Marawi Siege, yet, we the people of Marawi are still picking up every remaining piece that shape our lives and dignity as women ‘bakwits.’”
Prof. Bula said members of civil society organizations (CSOs) and women evacuees joined together in the march to make their voices heard and demand that their displacement must end.
Thousands of Marawi residents still live in temporary shelters or stay with their relatives elsewhere and are barred from rebuilding their homes, all of them destroyed by artillery fire and aerial bombings by government aircraft.
“We face a multitude of unending problems due to the responsibility bestowed upon us as mothers and as women,” the professor argued.
“As women, we were not consulted in the making of the Marawi Rehabilitation Plan. Huge amounts of money from the project are being returned to the national treasury, funds which could have been used to alleviate our lives. We are losing our identity and dignity,” Bula added.
“The long displacement, and the uncertainty of ever being able to reclaim our lives, are now moving us to action and fight for our plea. We demand from the administration what is due to us!” the RMM leader stressed.
“While the world is celebrating International Working Women’s Day (IWWD), we, the the Meranao women, are fighting our rights and dignity. We deserve more than the token services that this administration is giving us. We want to take hold of our own lives and rebuild it them,” Bula said.
“Today, we stand and march in solidarity with all the internally-displaced persons (IDPs)and women all over the world who are still experiencing all forms of exploitation and oppression, we say ‘Enough is Enough!’” she concluded.
RMM is a broad based network representing IDPs, religious and civic organizations and other support groups. (MARVYN N. BENANING)
April 8, 2020
BULACAN FARMERS SUPPLY 4-MT OF VEGGIES FOR FRONTLINERS, NGOs AND SOUP KITCHENS
Cash aid, seeds, fertilizer and subsidies needed to sustain effort during lockdown
Three weeks after starting the online Bagsakan Farmers Market (BFM) on Facebook, farmers from Norzagaray, Bulacan and San Jose Del Monte City in Bulacan have sold nearly 4 metric tons of vegetables and fruits.
The online buyers are mainly consumers from Quezon City and non-government organizations (NGOs) conducting relief operations and food kitchens for front liners and marginalized sectors.
BFM’s online operations, which specializes in sustainable farm produce, were launched on Facebook last March21.
Among the initial customers of the BFM were churches, religious congregations, homeowners associations and residents of Quezon City.
The market is also receiving many inquiries from netizens from other cities and provinces.
“Farmers fully realize their crucial role as food security front liners. They sell their crops almost at cost to people who are also affected by the lockdown. BFM promotes people’s collective action and compassion among sectors during this pandemic,” said Antonio Flores of Tanggol Magsasaka.
“Hindi mauubusan ng biyaya at pagkain mula sa lupa basta patuloy kaming makakapagtanim. Masaya kami na matiyak ang pagkain ng mga front liners at mga kapwa namin ordinaryong tao,” (We can assure abundant food and produce from farms as long as we can plant and harvest crops. We are happy to be of help to our fellow front liners and ordinary people), added Cecilia Rapiz of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan (AMB-KMP.)
Rapiz said farmers need urgent assistance from the government in the form of cash aid, seedlings, organic fertilizer, farm tools, farm animals and production subsidies to support non-stop food production.
“We need aid, not loans,” she added.
AMB farmer-members in San Jose del Monte are the main suppliers of the BFM, which sells seasonal vegetables and fruits including eggplant, sitaw or string beans. ampalaya or bitter gourd, sweet potato, cassava, banana heart, snow cabbage or pechay, saba or sweet plantain, kaimito, fresh and dried taro leaves and taro shoots, among others.
The farmers follow biodiversity farming techniques and grow the vegetables and fruits in their small family-farmed plots — a product of their decades of collective assertion of their right to land.
Once a week, BFM sources newly-harvested crops from farmers and deliver the at specific pick-up points in Quezon City.
Orders are placed online and proper social distancing etiquette is observed during deliveries.
Part of the proceeds of the market was also used for the Sagip Kanayunan relief operations for farming families.
“There is no public transport so it is hard for consumers to go to markets or groceries. We prefer buying directly from farmers because we know that we are helping their families. We hope that the government provides them with adequate production subsidies and immediate aid,” according to Donna Miranda, a regular customer of the online vegetable market.(MARVYN N.BENANING)
June 18, 2020
NTF-ELCAC desperate in crafting bogus accomplishments
BULACAN FARMERS CONDEMN SOLDIERS FOR FORCIBLE SURRENDERS
Farmers have slammed soldiers of the 80th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army (PS) for harassing farmers and forcing residents of Sitio Dalandanan, Barangay San Roque in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan to “surrender.”
The battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Christopher Diaz is but one of several battalions operating in other villages in San Jose del Monte City.
Residents said the Army soldiers conduct daily house-to-house visits and require them to sign forms for the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the National Task Force on Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC.)
They said farmers who feared for their own safety and that of their families signed the forms under tight guard by troopers.
On Thursday morning, June 18, soldiers from the 48th IB went to the house of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) coordinator Ronnie Azores in Sitio Ricafort.
“This, along with the other visits, will be maliciously reported by the NTF-ELCAC as their effort in allegedly quelling local insurgents and supporters. Mga magsasaka ang palalabasing milisyang bayan o suporter ng New People’s Army (NPA.) It is already public knowledge that the NTF-ELCAC led by General Antonio Parlade Jr. have long been fabricating its accomplishments, especially of alleged surrenderees and arrested NPA leaders,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos revealed.
Henoted the case of soldier Novelo Naag, who was presented as a rebel returnee last September 2019 and the photoshopped surrenderees released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last December 2019. Each fake surrenderee isworth tens of thousands in cash rewards. “Ginawa na nilang raket ang pamemeke ng mga sumusuko.”
“The residents are forced to surrender and ‘comeback to the folds of the law.’ Paanong susuko ang mga magsasakang sibilyan na wala namang armas at nagtatanim lang ng gulay sa bukid?” Ramos argued.
The soldiers further threatened the residents and said that those who will join rallies and activities with “partylists that are communist fronts” will be charged with rebellion.
“These kinds of military operations in peasant communities are sowing further terror and fear among the population already facing an anxiety-inducing pandemic. We demand the local government of Bulacan and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to intervene immediately. Troops under the 80th IB and 48th IB have encamped in San Jose del Monte City since 2018. Soldiers rented houses and are conducting surveillance work in peasant communities to target farmers active in land struggles. The said communities are part of the disputed Araneta lands that cover 3,500 hectares and are inhabited by almost 1,000 farming families. Farmers are resisting the land grabbing of several real estate entities in San Jose del Monte City,” Ramos revealed.
“Residents and local farmers associations under the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan (AMB) have launched a petition signing to demand the pull-out of AFP soldiers and stop the military encampment and operations. This petition is still with the Office of Mayor of San Jose del Monte City,” Eriberto Pena of AMB disclosed. (MARVYN N.BENANING)