"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

The Plight of the Sumilao Farmers

The farmers of Sumilao embarked on a 1,700 KM march on foot starting in Bukidnon (the turf of newly comelected senator Migz Zubiri the favorite nephew of thinking elite OFW basher Malu Fernandez) on the 9th of October commemorating the 10th anniversary of their hunger strike to in their struggle to regain their ancestral land and dignity with a target date of arrival to coincide with the Human Rights Day on the 10th of December 2007.

The Lumad landless farmers are expected to arrive in time to present their plight in on-going consultations for the upcoming rural congress. They will also appeal for the support of the Diocese and parishes to take the struggle of the Sumilao farmers as an issue for the rural congress promoting social justice in the countryside.

Bloggers are starting to take notice of their plight urging others to show their support through their networking effort as what Mschumey of Philippine Experience has done to call the attention of this Political jaywalker to allocate some space on this noble cause. Gari Lazaro has been actively posting updates and others blogging for the Sumilao March are: Prince in Hell, Dennis Rito of Vignettes with his candle lighting post, Milkolate actually walked and chanted with them for 3 days and numerous others available on google, yahoo and technorati.

While there are numerous outpouring of support along the way one noteworthy is that of Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo together with his wife Leni and hundreds of their constituents accompanyied the Sumilao farmers from Naga City boundary to Plaza Quince Martires, a 6 KM trek. In a show of solidarity, just like the marchers those that joined are ordinary men and women including the elderly easily identifying with marches for they themselves are disposed, poor and mostly exploited victims of a system made worse by the mismanagement of corrupt politicians. Robredo had this to say in his blog which I quote:

We hope and pray that their pleas will be heeded. But even if they won’t be, I believe they still have succeeded. Many times in the past, we have closed our eyes on the injustices and inequities in our midst. The marchers have reminded us, that the least we could do is to stand up and be counted. Oftentimes, we hesitate because we are afraid to displease people who we might need to count on, at a future time. (This is especially true with politicians!). But if only we can right the wrong now, probably we might not have the need for them in the future as they no longer have the influence over us. The Sumilao March mirrors the general picture of our society today. Poor people continue to suffer. Influential people, fearful of the loss of their pelf and influence, idly sit back and watch where the wind will blow before they cast their lots. Meanwhile, the decision makers wait for these influential people to make their move so they can fittingly respond. This is how I look at the Sumilao problem. This is how problems of inequities come to be.


While thousands pray and hope that their pleas will at least have the ear of the garcified Presidency, her executive secretary Eduardo Emita arrogantly and at the height of callousnes and insensitivity tells the marches to go to the DAR instead of the Palace. This reminds me of the Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (M.S.S.) creative disinformation at the height of the US occupation that gained MSS quite a number of fans after claiming that Iraqi forces had retaken the Baghdad airport from U.S. troops, in an LA Times report that Republican Guard Gen. Mohammed Daash was dispatched to check out a rumor that four or five American tanks had survived the Iraqi counterattack. Daash returned to his headquarters in a panic. "Four or five tanks!'' the commanders quoted Daash as telling his fellow generals.”Are you out of your minds? The whole damn American Army is at the airport!''


How noble of Mr. Ermita, in directing the police and military to watch out for the marchers that might get sick, somehow I just have the feeling that these police are out there to arrest the Sumilao farmers should they insist on proceeding to the palace? After all they have the uncanny knack for arresting people at whim as seem on the journalist covering the Manila Peninsula takeover.
To learn more about the Lumads click here, to learn more about the plight of the Sumilao Farmers go here, sign the Petition here.

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