by MART D. SAMBALUD
Somewhere in COMPOSTELA VALLEY – A year after Typhoon Pablo destroyed crops in this area, about 100 kilometers from Davao City, farmers have now harvested some 12,000 sacks of rice, made possible through their rehabilitation efforts with the New People’s Army.
This, the farmers declared during the celebration of the 45th year anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), as they also formalized 12 barrios (villages) consisting of around 1,800 families, in a new municipality under the “people’s democratic government.”
In an interview with Davao Today, Ka Sixto, leader of the red area’s Municipal Revolutionary Committee, said that the CPP in Southern Mindanao helped organized farmers and implement the communal farming system.
“Because of the Party’s effort, small farmers and lumads were given help. Since the communal farming started, the people were able to eat and survive,” said Ka Sixto.
The communal farming involved farmers taking turns in farming and maintaining the crops. Ka Sixto showed the farm occupying 55 hectares, planted with crops such as rice and corn.
The farmers also planted vegetable farms crops such as upo (white squash), okra, and egplant.
Ka Sixto said the communal system ensured food security for the communities, especially after Typhoon Pablo destroyed their farms and livelihood last December 4, 2012.
He said in the last six months, not only were they able to harvest, they were also able to process their harvested grains through a rice mill built by the NPAs.
“With the rice mill, people no longer need to go far to the market to mill their harvested rice,” he said.
The harvests gave farmers more reason to celebrate the CPP’s 45th anniversary in this area. Some 800 farmers, women, youth and lumads gathered on a hilltop at 1 pm yesterday (Dec. 26), and held a cultural program with songs and dramatization of the farmers’ plight and calls to continue the “national-democratic revolution.”
Sixto said the Aquino government has failed to provide the farmers adequate rehabilitation materials.
He claimed the government only favored military deployment and mining operations that made them poorer.
“Instead of giving the basic needs of toiling masses, the Aquino government intensified militarization in poor communities,” Sixto said.
He added that the Party’s “ideological” support helped them find ways to survive Pablo.
“The Party may not give abundant material things, but the ideology guides the masses to overcome their poor situation,” he said.
The CPP’s 45th anniversary statement released yesterday Dec. 26 said “organs of political power in the countrysides” covering barrios (villages) and “sub-municipal or municipal organs of political power” are tasked to conduct “mass struggles and mass campaigns.” (Mart D. Sambalud/Reposted by )