The coconut farmers have embarked on 160-kilometer march from Lucena City in Quezon to Manila to demand the return to farmers of billions of pesos in allegedly stolen coconut levy funds collected during the martial law years.
The march, which started on Thursday with some 100 farmers, is expected to arrive at PALEA’s protest camp before 6:00 PM. A solidarity human chain with PALEA will be held upon their arrival at the protest camp.
“We wish to welcome our coconut farmers to our protest camp. Since we occupied this place on September 27, this camp has become our protest camp, the protest camp of the 99% who are fighting for social justice,” said PALEA president Gerry Rivera.
Rivera said coconut farmers and PALEA members share a common struggle against government neglect as well as the capitalist greed of the country’s two most famous Marcos cronies, Lucio Tan and Danding Cojuangco.
“Coconut farmers were denied a share from their own coco levy fund. PALEA members on the other hand were denied the right to live a life of dignity when they rejected Lucio Tan’s contractualization plan,” added Rivera.
PALEA had been occupying PAL’s In-Flight Center along MIA Road for two months after they were locked out by the management on October 1. Rivera said they will not give up the camp until the PAL outsourcing plan is scrapped and PALEA members win their regular jobs back.
Labor and peasant groups are expected to join forces for the November 30 (Bonifacio Day) rallies. After a noon rally at Mendiola on November 30, the protesters will hold a motorcade to the PALEA protest camp for another program and mass outside the PAL In-Flight Center.
28 November 2011
Contact: Alnem Pretencio (PALEA VP) @ 09209543634
Bong Palad (PALEA Secretary) @ 09165740596