Humble peasants from the provinces, many of them barefoot, moved Pen Medina to tears at the People Power monument as the Lakbayan inched its way towards the DAR office in Quezon City.
Sino ba ang hindi maiiyak? Thanks to the Lakbayani farmers, many of us who have had the chance to go into schools and live far comfortable lives are given a lesson on civic duty. That educational attainment is not a requirement in putting up a valiant fight for truth and change in this country.
Farmers endure hell in the provinces. They do not own the land they till. They obtain usurious loans for their annual planting and harvesting. After paying the debts and the land rent, and factoring the expenses, they’re left with nearly nothing except small portions of the harvest. On top of this, they see the President pampering landlords and corrupting funds for fertilizers for her electoral purposes.
So now that they’re visiting Manila and would like to hold a peaceful rally at Mendiola, I think they deserve it as citizens and hardworking people to be respected.
As the Lakbayanis were on there way to Manila, they were treated like scum of the earth, like terrorists or bandits. All excuses were being raised in order to delay the Lakbayan and to paint them as rabble rousers.
Mayor Atienza, the PNP, the AFP and Malacañang should be decent enough not to insult the farmers with paranoid and hysterical anti-riot preparations. (Besides, need we look further and needlessly look for NPAs who are in the hinterlands, when the real sources of street violence are right there near the palace? Behold fully-armed SWAT teams, truncheon-wielding cops, armed goons entering the rallies as caught last night at the DAR. Behold the intrigues against Ka Satur in a transparently stupid ploy to prepare public opinion for a brutal dispersal of the Lakbayan.) Instead these officials should exert all efforts to make the farmers feel welcome, hear out their pleas and give them their day in the parliament of the streets.
Again, as the nation wakes up today to another day of hope, let’s pause and think about farmers. Let’s show our support and admiration for their militancy, patriotism and enduring strength.