Hundreds of contingents of People Surge, farmers from Western Samar such as Motyong, Hinabangan, Calbiga, and Pinabacdao, crossed San Juanico Bridge by marching late afternoon to early evening today, November 7. They are headed to Tacloban City where other survivors of disasters have been converging to mark the first year of Yolanda and demand justice for the government’s “criminal neglect.”
They gathered since noon under the hot sun, but while they were holding a program, it started to rain, prompting some to say that they remember Yolanda all the more.
They pushed ahead with their program under the rain. Local peasant leaders disputed in their speeches President Aquino’s “boasts” about its efforts for Yolanda survivors. The gathered farmers agreed by shouting out that no, they did not receive those things Aquino and his “minions” claimed they distributed.
Instead, what the people of Western Samar receive is heavier deployment of military.
Local leaders of peasant, women and communities took turns criticizing the Aquino government’s so-called response, from militarization, which, they said, caused greater hunger because they couldn’t work their farm, to 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) or CCT, which they found “useless” at combatting poverty.
Ka Paeng Mariano, national chairman of Anakpawis, warned that there would always be disasters under a government that in itself is a disaster. He hailed the storm survivors’ resiliency, and reiterated that the way to really combatting poverty, bringing about social justice and working toward real disaster preparedness is to increase the peoples’ incomes by implementing genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. Unlike the “fake agrarian reforms” implemented by succeeding governments, he described genuine agrarian reform as complete with moratorium on paying land rent or amortization, provision of support such as seedlings and appropriate technology.
[Text by MARYA SALAMAT. Photos by DJ DUMAPIT / Tudla Productions]