the traveller

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i am a writer with my own style. i laugh a lot especially when i get to write the things i love like my travel, food i devour and tasted, music i ran into and poems connecting me to my soul. I get to write thoughts and reflection of my personal life.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Not Another Sad Movie….

Looking back

It had been a decade since the struggles of the landless farmers take its roots and can even be counted from the time our land had been corruptibly invaded by the Spanish conquest who among others taught us the encomienda system. which was in effect what our Filipino ancestors had been practicing and implementing towards our own blood - the FILIPINO LANDLESS FARMERS.

The Saving Grace

And with the passage of RA 6657 commonly known as CARL, in 1988, it gave hope to our farmers that in time the land to which they till would become theirs at last. The passage of such law is based on the provision of the constitution on social justice which the constitution aptly stated in CALALANG vs. WILLIAM, that, Social Justice is neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy, but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the state so that Justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. Social Justice means the promotion of the welfare of the people, the adoption by the government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the component elements of society through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interpretation of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of power underlying the existence of all governments on the time honored principle of salus populi est suprema lex.

The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (RAA 6657) gave flesh to the intent of the constitution and is a revolutionary piece of legislation that seeks to free the peasants from the bondage of the soil. And that such law is definitely enacted for very specific reason, that is, equitable distribution of agricultural resources. Thus, seeking to cure the unjust situation where vast areas of land all over the Philippines are owned by very few yet very influential families and individual.

The Hindering Factor

But said struggles of the farmers to have and benefit from the fruits of their labors were not easy for here comes the Supreme Court by virtue of their power to interpret the laws of the land, introduced various amendments of RA 6657 such as the promulgation of the LUZ FARM CASE, NATALIA REALTY CASE, and the FORTICH CASE as well as the enactment of Congress of RA 7881 and other anti- AR Bills.

What have we come so far…

As the supreme court concluded in its opinion in Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines Inc. vs. Secretary of Agrarian Reform

And I Quote:

“By the decision we reach today, all major legal obstacles to the CARP are removed, to clear the way for the true freedom of the farmer. We may now glimpse the day when he will be released not only from the his own feelings of inadequacy and helplessness. At last his servitude will be ended forever. At last the farm on which he tills will be his farm. It will be his portion of Mother Earth that will give him not only the staff of life but also the joy of living, and where once it bred for him only deep despair, now can he see in it fruition of hid hopes for a more fulfilling failure. Now at last can he banish from his small plot of earth his insecurities and dark resentments and rebuild in it the music and the dream.

This would have a wonderful story to tell to our children, great-grandchildren and even to the next generation. Such decision would have been very great indeed, had it not of the pending bill in the congress allowing the passage of FAC Bill, that would ultimately lead to SHATTERED DREAMS of our lowly farmers.

Here comes the bride…

What’s in for us with this fresh and enticing bill?

They say:

The bill aims to provide farmers with greater access to credit by, among other measures, combining the modern technology of the banking sector with the traditional credit needs of the rural poor. Hence the law today limits borrowing by the farmers only from the Landbank for a period of ten years.

We say:

A big NO… for to allow the farmers to mortgage their lands in the current state of Philippine Agriculture (high interest) is tantamount to taking their lands from them and even result to massive foreclosure of CARP lands.
And not only that, it will ultimately open the floodgates of land reconsideration thereby defeating the very essence of AR, that is to provide land to the tiller. Thus, violating the Sections 4 and 5 of the 1987 constitution.

They say:

The FB’s are now allowed to mortgage or sell his cultivation rights over the land to any person whether natural or juridical in order to give greater access to financial institutions. (Section 27-A)

We say:

Fac will endanger the farmers by putting their ownership at risk reverting hereto, the Social Justice intention of CARL. More so, the sale, transfer, conveyance of lands without the approval of DAR clearly shows DAR’s gradual loss of power its power to implement CARL as well as AR laws virtual repeal.

They Say:

The bill is the timely answer to the country’s declining agricultural productivity as well as investments.

We say:

This is a a big mistake, for the bill do not dig deeper to the root cause of our problem by opening the CARP-awarded lands to any mortgage, sell or conveyance and the lifting of the 5 hectare retention limit. For the very problem is the failure on the part of the government to provide for the needed support services to make the awarded lands become productive.

ENTICING yet a Poison Ivy

They say there are lots of things they can offer for the farmers… But we say no, for we believe that this bill is a POISONOUS VENOM, that if tolerated would indisputably paralyzed the peasant farmers in our land. And in return, the main objective of CARP will no longer be available thus making it a stale and obsolete law.

BALAOD Mindanaw, Inc.

Monday, August 17, 2009


The long and Winding Road

Events started when I decided to take another route from the Queen city of the south, away from the friends I have learned to love to land where I have never stepped into, the City of Friendship. The place was then so new to me, but I do not have uncertainty that I am meant to be here. And there’s a reason for everything that will come into my life.

After a few months of getting to know the new surroundings I took my entrance exam at LDCU and hopefully passed it. I enrolled in the college few days after passing said exam. The first few months at law school were all so tiring and routinary that most of the time at the library, to our classroom and home and study again.

A course that change my course of life

During the first semester I often heard some law students who joined a particular group that is so unfamiliar to my hearing. And one friend of mine made mention on her various engagements and experiences during the summer vacation that is so unusual to students like us, for others would just love to go home and intertwined their summer by staying at home or go on tour to visit places. But the stories she told me, awakened something down under me to try and be a part of the group to where she belongs.

It was only during the second semester that I got hold and witness how the group worked and indulge themselves to an activity that catches my attention. The activity was all about “MARGINALIZATION OF WOMEN IN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM” that was held during our law day. I was able to get to know clearer and better the reason for being of the group who formally introduced themselves as CALL (Center for Alternative Lawyering of Liceo) a partner of certain NGO I hardly know.

After the said activity some members of the group invited some of my classmates and I to join them and gave us a piece of paper marked as “APPLICATION FORM”. At first I was hesitant for such word depict an idea that there is a very big task at stake plus the part wherein I am told to answer my concept of Alternative Lawyering, which I find it hard to answer for I am not familiar of such word. But thankfully, I was able to give my own first definition of what it means for a “BAGITO” like me. But even before they ask me to join, deep inside me, I am determined to take the path for such quest of life.

The walk of life

As I submit my application form I could feel the tingling sensation inside my brain for I know I am about to take another route. The day started when a member of the group text me to join them and explained to me what is going to happen. So I barged in without hesitation thus bringing all my stuffs in a very big traveling bag bigger in size than me for a one-week activity. There in the BOS that I met law students who are as eager as I am to learn and hear what Alternative Lawyering is all about. Many are the things that happened that made me see life in a way I could never imagined existed. For during my routinary life in the college I was dreaming of a life where I could see myself wearing high-heeled shoes and working in an office wearing a formal yet frigid outfit just to fit into the world where I thought is the only path I could have. (This is my reflection during the BOS)

And it was during the immersion that I feel the intensity of eradicating my usual concept on what legal profession is, for I realized that there are things that the academe or the school failed to teach me, that is the value and empowering the people you lend your services to as one value and empower oneself.

The Summer Experience

Being one of the applicants for CALL, we had to be separated and exposed to different sectors which members of ALG is focusing on… I was then exposed to Mining and IP sectors where I was able to witness how mining company works and how it affects the community in general. I was made to believe that laws are just and equitable but it is otherwise. And with regard to IP issues, where they were taught on how to stand for their own right by using the law as their tool. And not only that, such assignment is worth having for it taught me how to deal with different kind of people. Sometimes, I get carried away seeing them being displaced and evacuated for certain reasons they do not understand with inaction on their part. Such a summer experience is a heartbreaking and inspiring one for it made me more convinced that there is something inside of me to give.

After summer what?

Being part of the group, my engagement with ALG work still continues for the experience I had is just but a “sample” of the many events of life coming my way.

The journey only begins

Now as I continue to live my life being a member of CALL, everyday of it is a lesson learned. Being mold to continue the legacy that my mentors imparted to me is a good start of being one with the people in their fight for justice. And not only that, I became deeply involved with ALG work by becoming a part of an institution that do not only teach me to live life to the fullest with purpose but also teaches me to give the technology or the learning’s that law schools had taught me in order to empower the people especially the marginalized sectors, and I thank BALAOD for it widened my horizon to the traditional belief of what lawyering is all about. I could see the road clearly as I travel to life with headstrong conviction that no matter life may take I will bring this important event of my life, that no one can steal this away from me for it is mine in the making and I’ll bring it with me in my grave. But as of today, the journey for life has just begun with BALAOD and ALG as a whole

Published (Touching Lives. ICCO. 2005 )