Farmers’ hunger strike update – Day 2 (18 Dec 2012)
December 18, 2012
Dorita Vargas being brought to the hospital. (Photo: Vincent Go/TFM)
18 Dec 2012 – Five TFM farmers among the 56 who launched a hunger strike inside the DAR on Monday, December 17, collapsed today and were rushed to the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City. They are urging President Aquino to take over CARPer completion, fulfill his June 14 commitments and oust Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes.
Weakened by the two-day fast, 46-year-old Joel Pertes from Hacienda Tilangkay Dako in Payao, Binalbagan and 60-year-old Monico Alonsabi from Hacienda Angelita, La Castellana, both in Negros Occidental, were taken to the emergency room at noon today, where doctors said the two were weak and had to be treated immediately.
Shortly afterwards, 41-year-old Regino Quizada from Hacienda Carmenchica of Pontevedra town and Mark Balderas, 24, of Hacienda Socorro Wagoner in Talisay were also rushed to the hospital due to some difficulty in breathing.
At around 4:30 in the afternoon, Dorita Vargas of Hacienda Canticbil Manalo in La Castellana, 63, collapsed and was carried to East Avenue Medical Center, leaving 51 farmer hunger strikers struggling outside the Office of the DAR Secretary at the 4th floor of the DAR Building in Elliptical Road.
During the farmers’ dialogue in Malacanang on June 14, Dorita Vargas – who has been following up on her case since 1999 – was personally promised by President Aquino that she will have Certificate of Landownership Award (CLOA) for Hacienda Canticbil Manalo before the year ends. Along with 90 more farmers from Negros, Batangas and Mindanao, she went to Manila to follow up on the President’s commitment because the case of Hacienda Canticbil Manalo is still far from being resolved.
According to the DAR, the 126-hectare hacienda was subdivided into 9 titles and only 1 title, with merely 10 hectares, is being processed. In this case, 5 out of 10 hectares will be retained for landowner and the remaining 5 hectares will be shared by 52 farmers.
The same situation of sluggishness and decade-long delays in Land Acquisition and Distribution is shared by the 51 remaining hunger strikers and the thousands of farmers that they represent.
They plan to continue their hunger strike until President Aquino responds to their demand of delos Reyes’ ouster on account of his dismal performance and weak leadership.
Meanwhile, just next door, the office of DAR Operations Undersecretary Jose Grageda hold their Christmas party parading their lechon and fiesta dishes as they pass the hunger striking farmers.