CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: About 100 leaders of various farmer groups in Northern Mindanao on Monday started their 1,497-kilometer “walk” to Quezon City to press the government to distribute to them a state university-owned 517-hectare land in Bukidnon.
Dubbed as “Baktas (March) BTL: For Land and Life,” the farmers expect to arrive in Quezon City on Wednesday after passing by various provinces in a two-bus convoy for some awareness-raising actions before proceeding to Manila.
Leaders of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the Buffalo Tamaraw Limus (BTL) Farmers Association, would camp out at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) central office in Quezon City from October 11 to 25 while holding forums and dialogues in schools and support institutions.
Nothern Mindanao or Regon 10 is comprised of the provinces of Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental.
Winnie Loable, chairperson of the BTL farmers association, said the group would hand carry a petition to the DAR central office asking agrarian officials to order the distribution of the 517-hectare land in Bukidnon to the rightful farmer-tillers of the land.
The state-owned Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon has taken the farm lots from the farmers who have been subjected to “harassment” and “rights violations,” said the group in a statement released to The Manila Times.
Erineo Udarbe, KMP Northern Mindanao chairman, called for unity among farmers in the region to wage the struggle to own lands that rightfully belong to them.
The collective journey and the camp out is being undertaken to press the government, through DAR, to officially declare the farmers as rightful owners of the BTL-tilled lands and at the same time recognize the rights of the lumad to their ancestral domain, the group statement added.