Wednesday, December 24, 2008


December 18, Breakfast after the mass, EDSA Shrine

December 18, Thanksgiving Mass and send-off to Banasi Farmers,
EDSA Shrine with Bishop Pabillo as celebrant

December 2 at the Caritas-Manila grounds
where the farmers stayed

December 1, at the Baclaran Church

December 1, At the Las Pinas Church

Statement of the Banasi Farmers on the
Recognition of the DAR and the Office of the President of their Right to their Land

We, the farmers from Sitio Banasi, Barangay Pawili, Bula, Camarines Sur, embark on our victorious journey back home, secure in a triumph that was sealed by the Decision handed to us by the Department of Agrarian Reform on December 19,2008. It is both heartening and gratifying that the DAR, through an order from the Office of the President, promptly re-examined the facts of our case, and duly decided in accordance with law.

The Decision, signed by DAR Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, complies with the remand Order of the Office of the President, which gave authority to the DAR to come out with findings, evaluation, and decision that is final and that terminate all actions against the validity of the coverage of our land under agrarian reform, as well as baseless questions on the validity of the Certificates of Land Ownership Award given to us by this government.

The Decision through the Order of the DAR recognizes us as the legitimate tillers of the 123 hectares of land that is the subject of our case. Our standing as proper parties to the case filed by Edilberto Fajardo, Corazon de la Providence, and Augustia Imperial was duly acknowledged, and our Motion for Intervention was given due course. The Decision also states in clear and indisputable terms that our land was placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in 1995 through a process that was both substantively and procedurally sound. Consequently, Certificates of Land Ownership Award were duly distributed to fifty-seven Banasi farmers on February 1998.

The DAR and the Office of the President also stood firm on their declaration that the character of the land as pasture land no longer exists, a finding that is based on no less than actual ocular inspections reflected in investigation reports issued in 1995 and 1998. Once again, the Decision affirmed that the land was and continues to be devoted to agriculture, and is therefore not exempt from CARP.

Through the Order, it is now beyond question that the land, our land, is agricultural nad should remain under CARP coverage. It is also beyond question that from now on, we can be secure in our ownership of the land, bearing CLOAs that are valid and certainly indefeasible.

We return to our land with this Order and the commitment of DAR Secretary Pangandaman and Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III that they will immediately dismiss all actions that will disturb our rightful ownership to the land as this Order rightfully serves as the reversal of the Order issued by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita on February 7, 2007. We will come home to our fellow farmers and families with the good news that the DAR and the Office of the President granted our plea for the reversal of the Ermita Order.

We hold on to this Order as sufficient basis for the dismissal of all other baseless and frivolous harassment cases filed against us in relation to the classification and rightful ownership of our land.

With the success of our month-long walk, we remain in solidarity with the farmes of Baha and Talibayog in Calatagan, Yulo estate, Arroyo lands in Negros and Bondoc Peninsula who are battling for their land rights. We call on the government to promptly decide on their cases with a clear view of social justice. We offer our success and our consequent struggles to the eventual success of agrarian reform in our country. Together with other farmers who continue to struggle to claim agricultural lands that are rightfully theirs, we will strongly ursue the enactment for the passage of a law that will extend and reform CARP. Our zeal will never wane despite the lack of political will and the inability of Congress to respond to the call of the rural poor.

We extend our profuse gratitude to all who walked with us in our pursuit of justice, especially the Church for the continuous outpouring of physical and spiritual nourishment. Be assured that our efforts will not go to waste; we will continue to fight for our right to our precious land. We also thank the DAR and the Office of the President for upholding our rights in this particular case. We trust that from now on, we could count on you in our continued defense of our right to the land.

We salute all who continue to stand for the rights of the Filipino farmer.

Banasi Agrarian REform Bneficiaries Association (BARFBA)

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