Tag Archives: CBCP-NASSA

[Statement] on ABS-CBN shutdown NASSA/CARITAS PH

Statement on ABS-CBN shutdown
May 6, 2020

On May 5, 2020, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has issued a cease-and-desist order against broadcast media giant, ABS-CBN, due to the expiration of its congressional franchise citing Republic Act 3846 or the Radio Control Law.

Since 2016, ABS-CBN worked for a franchise renewal, and bills had been filed since then, and many congressional hearings were held until it was overtaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. The non-renewal was further caused by the legislative inaction and weaponizing of power for political gain.

It is very unfortunate that we need to be sidelined by this equally important matter when the nation is battling against an invisible enemy, claiming thousands of lives already and endangering even millions more due to the devastating socio-economic impacts of the global health emergency.

Thus as the social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, NASSA/Caritas Philippines would like to:

1. Express solidarity and sympathy with the employees and their families who would lose their jobs when the network operation stops. We know that this is the most inopportune time for this to happen when people are already in crisis and are suffering.

2. Appeal for the government’s sense of fairness and clemency in applying the letter of the law in view of the common good and to respect the right of the people to have wide access to news and information being provided by the network. Media should be considered a partner in nation-building, and it should not be unnecessarily harassed when they are critical or not towing the line of any administration.

3. Stand for freedom of the press and speech. The government or any political figure for that matter do not have the right to curtail these freedoms safeguarded and warranted in the Philippine constitution. We encourage our government leaders to be brave enough to face the public with the truth, and not hide under the guise of political power, harassment, and intimidation.

4. Pray that in this time of the pandemic, those in position will choose mercy and compassion over personal interests; moral obligation versus legal requirements, and people over powerplay.

The press (media) is considered the fourth state: “the guardian of veritas (truth)” and holds a special responsibility to influence, form, and inspire the public with the truth. The Catholic Church, through NASSA/Caritas Philippines, will and always stand for and with the truth, through love, justice, and peace.

Together, let us heal as one. We are Caritas.


Bp. Jose Colin Bagaforo, D.D.
National Director, NASSA/Caritas Philippines

Bp. Gerardo Alminaza, D.D.
Vice Chair, Episcopal Commission on Social Action-Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP)

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[Statement] CBCP-NASSA and ATM Joint Statement on the Mining Issue During the Visit of Pope Francis Manila and Tacloban in the Philippines: 15-19 January 2015

Joint Statement on the Mining Issue During the Visit of Pope Francis
Manila and Tacloban in the Philippines: 15-19 January 2015

“Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell (Num. 35:34).”

In two instances, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has published statements on the mining issue in the Philippines. In 1995, the CBCP asked for the repeal of the Philippine Mining Act (RA 7942) citing the “devastating effects and the adverse social impacts of mining that will destroy both environment and people and will lead to national unrest”. The Bishops expressed their support for the many local petitions against mining operations in the Philippines. Then in 2006, CBCP re-affirmed their stand for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, believing that “the Mining Act destroys life”. The Bishops stated that “allowing the interests of big mining corporations to prevail over people’s right to these sources amounts to violating their right to life. Furthermore, mining threatens people’s health and environmental safety through the wanton dumping of waste and tailings in rivers and seas.”

cbcp nassa atm

Last Sept. 9, 2013, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone read the message of Pope Francis to the mining industry during the Day of Reflection between the Mining Industry and the Vatican. The Holy Father reminded everyone that “ the great challenge of business leaders is to create a harmony of interests, involving investors, managers, workers, their families, the future of their children, the preservation of the environment on both a regional and international scale, and a contribution to world peace.”

CBCP-NASSA and ATM believes that any meaningful dialogue or engagement with the mining industry must be strongly built on the Catholic Social Teachings and informed by the principles of:

a) Integrity of Creation – The interrelatedness and interconnectedness of nature and man within nature, must be recognized, and that large-scale destruction of forests by mining operations must be contained to preserve ecological sustainability.
b) Responsible Stewardship – Human extractive activity must not disrupt sustenance of current needs nor the needs of future generations. Human activity must promote harmony and development that correspond with God’s plan, paying close attention to consequences of these actions
c) Human Dignity – mining projects must not exploit the already marginalized people, including the mine workers who are not justly compensated, or the farmers who lose their irrigation, or the fishers who see their waters contaminated or the indigenous peoples who not only lose their lands, but their livelihoods and culture as well, and women and children lose their access to health and well-being
d) Preferential Option for the Poor – communities affected by mining loss their access to land and water, leaders are bribed and corruption breeds bad governance, and the benefits of mineral extractions are cornered by the elites.

To this end, we implore the Holy Father to support and stand with the communities, local organizations and popular movements who are responding to the challenges of the mining industry. We urge Pope Francis to:

1. Support the call of Philippine Bishops and the mining-affected communities to repeal the Philippine Mining Act (RA 7942) and the clamor for a new mining law that recognizes the environment and ecology, respects human rights and ensures that negative impacts of mining are completely addressed and avoided;
2. Ensure that the voices of the marginalized and the poor are heard and given space in any dialogue or interaction between the Church and the mining industry, from the local up to the global levels;
3. Encourage the Catholic leadership as well as other religious leaders, to practice their stewardship role in facilitating harmony, peace and social justice to address the issues brought by mining and other extractive industries. The way forward must include a true discernment incorporating the attempt to correct historical injustices, promoting greater transparency and seeking and working for alternatives to the market-driven and consumerist-materialist economic system.

We are confident that the Holy Father will be the inspiration of Filipinos who struggle to convert and renew themselves, and become true stewards of God’s creation. We continuously invoke the grace of the Holy Spirit to bless us with spiritual fervor, and we are ever grateful to Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, for her intercession.

Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines
National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA)


Alyansa Tigil Mina
(Alliance Against Mining)

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[Statement] Joint statement from church advocacy arm and civil society organizations on climate change on the occasion of the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines

Joint statement from church advocacy arm and civil society organizations on climate change on the occasion of the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines
January 14, 2015

On the occasion of the coming of Pope Francis to the Philippines and his solidarity visit to the typhoon-devastated community, we, in the Church and civil society organizations bring before the Holy Father one important concern that urgently needs Church moral intervention. We refer to the issue of climate change, causing climate-induced disasters and extreme weather events, resulting to catastrophic misery to our people as in the case of super typhoon Haiyan.

cbcp nassa pmcj

The Philippines tops the list of countries most affected countries by weather-related disasters like storms, floods, and heatwaves. Yearly, extreme weather events claim the lives of people and displace families. Facing hunger, increased mortality due to temperature increase, more destructions from extreme weather events, the Philippines is at the doorstep of all the major threat of climate change.

The impacts of climate change to the poor are also experienced by other countries in Asia. The Catholic Church is alarmed of climate change as an “unprecedented threat to humanity.” The Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC) clearly decries how climate is hurting the developing countries in Asia:

“But tragically, ours is a continent of massive poverty, where few enjoy great progress and prosperity while the many suffer in abject deprivation. And it is the poor and the needy who suffer most from the consequences of climate change. We are experiencing dramatic changes of season, extreme changes of weather, more frequently recurring and stronger typhoons, destructive flooding, drying up of whole areas, decrease in food production and spread of climate change related diseases.”

As early as 1988, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had already articulated the urgency for our faith to take on the ecological challenge: “At this point in the history of our country it is crucial that people motivated by religious faith develop a deep appreciation for the fragility of our islands’ life system and take steps to defend the earth. It is a matter of life and death.”

Clearly, climate change is a moral issue that we in the Church cannot remain passive bystanders. It is for this reason that the Bishops Conference in Asia categorically admits: “As Church we are challenged by this grave situation, since climate change is an ethical, moral and religious issue.”

As categorically declared by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his message to the UN Convention on Climate Change, we believe that: “The effective struggle against global warming will only be possible with a responsible collective answer, that goes beyond particular interests and behavior and is developed free of political and economic pressures. It is only possible with a collective answer that is able to overcome attitudes of mistrust and to promote a culture of solidarity, of encounter and of dialogue able to show the responsibility to protect the planet and the human family.”

Therefore, we appeal to the Holy Father to support us in seeking solidarity and justice for the communities affected by the climate crisis.

We need a global climate deal in Paris that will prevent the world from heading towards a catastrophic warming of 5 degrees. We appeal for the Church to encourage governments and political leaders to work together and commit to a global goal, based on science, of limiting warming to the safest level which is below 2 degrees.

Governments of the North, of rich industrialized countries, should commit to and deliver fully and unequivocally their fair share of the effort to solve climate change and ensure a full repayment of the emissions debt owed to the peoples of the South. On the other hand, governments of the South, of developing countries, should stop following the same path of profit-led, destructive high-carbon growth taken by developed countries that benefit only the elites. They should start taking on their fair share of the global effort, and be unrelenting in claiming climate finance and technology from developed country governments for South countries to undertake mitigation actions over and beyond their own fair share of the global effort.

We appeal the Holy Father to join us in demanding all governments to commit to:
• a greenhouse gas emissions reduction pathway and target without having to resort to potentially devastating geo-engineering, or the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climatic system with the aim of reducing global warming;
• a fair and equitable sharing of the global emissions budget, the appropriation of which would be based on science, historical responsibility and capacity – without loopholes and offsets;
• ensure that the welfare and rights of the people are protected in the face of the impacts of climate crisis;
• putting an end to false solutions, the further expansion of carbon markets, and the corporate denomination of the climate negotiations;
• immediately translate mitigation commitments into concrete policies for transformation of energy systems away from fossil fuel.

We appeal to the Holy Father to support us in seeking an end to investments in fossil fuel and ecologically-destructive projects.

Continued burning of fossil fuel will exacerbate the impacts of the changing climate. Mining and other eco-destructive projects which aggravate the climate crisis must be critically evaluated or shunned altogether.

To have at least a 50 per cent chance of limiting global warming below 2 degrees throughout the twenty-first century, the cumulative carbon emissions between 2011 and 2050 need to be limited to around 1,440 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2). Unabated burning of fossil fuel reserves will result to missing the 2 degree target.

To prevent catastrophic climate change, most of the fossil fuels must remain in the ground. A recent scientific study posits that gobal reserves corresponding to 33% of oil, 49 % of gas, and 82% coal should be classified as unburnable reserves in order to prevent dangerous climate change of more than 2 degrees.

Investing in fossil fuel companies and in eco-destructive projects is synonymous in supporting the destruction of our future. Divestment provides the means to change this status quo – to shift towards a system that will prioritize the welfare of the people and of nature over the relentless pursuit of profit.

To conclude, we are one with the Church in asserting that climate change is an urgent issue that is clearly related to our Christian responsibility to care for the earth and to care for the poor and vulnerable in our midst. The social teachings of the Church are replete with pastoral exhortations invoking for environmental stewardship, social and inter-generational justice, the use of earth’s resources for common good, authentic development, and service for the poor and the vulnerable. All those principles are at stake of being violated when we do not avert or address the causes of climate change.

It is to this end that we welcome Pope Francis to the Philippines, with the hope that our advocacy for the care of the earth and for genuine development and justice for the poor will be taken up as part of the major agenda for his pastoral visit.

SIGNED by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)/National Secretariat for Social Action (NASA)/Caritas Philippines and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).


FR. EDWIN A. GARIGUEZ                                                        GERARD ARANCES
Executive Secretary                                                                  National Coordinator
CBCP/NASSA/Caritas Philippines                                              Philippine Movement for Climate Justice

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[From the web] CBCP-NASSA launches ‘Year of the Poor’, ‘AK40’

CBCP-NASSA launches ‘Year of the Poor’, ‘AK40’

BUTUAN City, Agusan del Norte, Oct. 7, 2014—The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in coordination with its National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), launched on Monday, Oct. 6, the “Year of the Poor” and “Alay Kapwa 40” (AK40) at the St. Joseph Cathedral Diocesan Shrine in Butuan City.


“The Church is constantly challenged to take the side of the poor and the oppressed, particularly in the situation where there is a continuing violation of human rights wherein justice is being denied for sectors like farmers, indigenous people, fisherfolks, labor and even the victims of calamities. So with this celebration we are called to renew this commitment,” Fr. Edwin Gariguez, CBCP-NASSA executive secretary, said in a statement.

CBCP-NASSA executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez (Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize)

‘Year of the Poor’

Backed by its sister commissions, as well as the country’s 85 dioceses, NASSA, CBCP’s development arm, has been tasked to spearhead the one-year celebration of the “Year of the Poor”, which will officially open on Nov. 23, 2014, ending the “Year of the Laity”.

Inspired by Luke 22:61, which reads “Look at Jesus…And the Lord turned and looked at Peter”, this upcoming “Year of the Poor” is the third of the nine-year era of New Evangelization set to prepare the Filipino faithful for the fifth centenary of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021.

According to Gariguez, it seeks to respond to the challenge posed by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) for the Church in the country to be a “Church of the Poor”, which CBCP noted, has become “even more valid as before”.

The event also paid tribute to 40 years of Alay Kapwa, the Lenten evangelization program for the poor started in 1974, fosters love for one’s neighbors and God’s creation through “evangelization and resource mobilization of the local church” while supporting NASSA’s disaster emergency and advocacies toward social transformation and resiliency.

Read full article @www.cbcpnews.com

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[Press Release] Farmers, fisherfolks file petition for Envi Protection Order against mining in MacArthur Leyte -CBCP-NASSA/ATM

Farmers, fisherfolks file petition for Envi Protection Order against mining in MacArthur Leyte

MacArthur, Leyte—Farmers and fisher folks in Leyte went to court and filed an application for Temporary Environmental Protection Order (EPO) to stop the mining operation of Nicua Corporation in prime agricultural lands of Villa Imelda and adjacent barangays in MacArthur Leyte.
The plaintiffs led by Jesus Cabias, president of Unahin Lagi Natin ang Diyos – Bito Lake Fisherfolks Association (UNLAD-BLFA) and supported by Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), assert their right to a healthy and safe environment against the destructive effects of mining in their farmlands and lake.

“Water is life and must be saved as all costs. Allowing mining to continue here will affect not only our primary source of water and livelihood but also the future generations,” said Cabias.
Two weeks ago, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported that contamination from oil and grease from the mining operations is one of the causes of the massive fish kill in Lake Bito.

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA) added, “Together with the Archdiocese of Palo and Alyansa Tigil Mina, we visited this area and found that the impacts of mining there are terrible and devastating. We call on the national offices to act on this, at the same time we hope that the Regional Trial Court can immediately hear our petition and issue a temporary environmental protection order to stop Nicua mining corporation from operating in the area.”

Cabias added, “Our problem is that the mining operation is encroaching in prime agricultural lands—we are talking about irrigated lands that were not even legally converted for otherPurposes. Their activities threaten our food security, right to clean water, and livelihood.”

The 30-page petition has been filed on Monday at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 in Abuyog, Leyte but is yet to be given a case number by the RTC Judge next week.

Meanwhile, ELAC Lawyer Atty. Ronnan Reposar is firm that an EPO should really be issued against the mining company and should be implemented immediately. He said, “There are clear violations here, not only that the mining operation in MacArthur violated the constitutional rights of the people to environment, health, life and property, the same has likewise violated other laws protecting our natural resources — the mining company is situated and directly affecting prime and irrigated agricultural lands and the water resources. This is a clear threat to LIFE of both the present and future generation”

Environmental Protection Order or Temporary Environmental Protection Order (EPO/TEPO) are injunction orders under the new Environmental Rules of Court that directs or enjoins “any person or government agency to perform or desist from performing an act in order to protect, preserve or rehabilitate the environment.” This gives immediate relief on environmental issues.

“We do not understand why this company was even allowed to mine here—they are converting prime agricultural lands into mine sites that will render the lands useless afterwards,” stated Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina.

For more information:
Fr. Edu Gariguez, CBCP-NASSA – (0922) 834-8248 edugariguez@gmail.com
Jesus Cabias, (UNLAD-BLFA) – (0912) 433-7768
Atty. Ronnan Christian Reposar, ELAC – rcmr80@yahoo.com
Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina – nc@alyansatigilmina.net


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[Event] ATM NASSA ALAMIN Book Launching – Mindoro Campaign

ATM NASSA ALAMIN Book Launching – Mindoro Campaign

Dear Friends in the campaign,

Our greetings and prayer for a New Year of renewed commitment in defending our threatened environment!

CBCP-NASSA, ATM and ALAMIN invite you to join us in launching the booklet entitled “Mindoro Campaign: Defending People’s Rights, Protecting the Island Ecology” on January 23, 2012, at the Media Conference Room, 2nd Floor of the CBCP Building, 470 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, at 10:00AM.

The booklet is a compendium of reports and case studies highlighting the victory of Mindorenos’ environmental advocacy at the national and international level.

The launching will be covered by a group of film-makers from the US doing a documentary project on the Mindoro mining issue.

There will be a press conference and a short presentation of the reports and update on Mindoro struggle against large-scale mining of Intex Resources.

Members from the civil society organizations can also take part in the discussion at the end part of the program. This invitation is extended to the members of the campaign network, and Manila-based NGOs.

Another launching is scheduled the day after at Calapan, Oriental Mindoro to be hosted by the Provincial Government.

We look forward to your attendance and participation.

Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez
Executive Secretary
470 Gen. Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila, PHILIPPINES
(02) 353-9346; 527-4147; 527-4163 / fax: (02) 527-4144

[Event] New movement Kilusang 99%

08 November 2011

Dear Friends,

Greetings from CBCP-NASSA!

I write on account of significant and indicative developments happening all over the world which I think presents judicious opportunity for the Filipino people to bring about systems change.

Since December of last year, we have witnessed a global restiveness that toppled governments and encouraged mass uprisings against the economic monopoly of the rich. First, it was the Arab Spring in the Middle East, and now the Occupy Wallstreet Movement that has swept the coasts of the United States, Europe and the rest of the world. These unrests speak about a people’s desire to triumph over poverty, social injustice, inequality and corporate greed. The Occupy Wallstreet Movement is a resonance of the collective protest of the 99% suffering from joblessness and dislocation with no hope of recourse from their governments.

In the Philippines, a similar crusade is undertaking a birthing process. Initially conceived as a social reform movement, the “Kilusang 99%” is about making the poor the center of development and making the government accountable for the welfare of the majority. It is not about corporate overthrow and proletarian reprisal, but about the promotion of corporate social responsibility. It is the reorientation of business and industry to serve the interest of the poor and the marginalized. It pushes for the implementation of four asset reforms: (1) agrarian reform, (2) urban land reform and housing, (3) ancestral domain reform, and (4) fisheries reform, while seeking an end to policies inimical to the poor and the environment. It calls for the protection of the rights of workers from nefarious labor practices such as contractualization, and the resolution of all human rights violations.

Kilusang 99% harnesses the power of a unified citizenry. The poor, when moving in unity and solidarity for a common cause, is a potent and compelling force. The “Arab Sping” has proven this to be true. Change was prompted neither by a popular leader nor political oppositions, but by a poor young man in Tunisia who set fire on himself and the rest of the Arab world.

Of course, we do not encourage emulating such expression of hopelessness and desperation. We maintain that any act of violence begets anarchy and aggression, such as what’s happening in transition governments in Middle East. Arab Spring only serves as a warning of what can happen when the poor has had enough of suffering and injustice.

In the Philippines, we find similar restlessness brewing among our sectoral groups: the workers condemn the unfair labor practices tolerated by the government, the agrarian reform beneficiaries are holding protests against the glacial pace of agrarian reform, the coconut farmers decry the wrong committed against them by the judiciary and the government, the families of slain journalists, clergy and human rights advocates demand justice for their loved ones, and the indigenous people are fighting against the destruction of their forests and ancestral domains.

This rising tide of discontent, coupled by the indifference of the general public, is sustenance for insurgency which the Church hopes to stem. By convening the Kilusang 99%, the Church brings together all sectoral classes to preclude uncoordinated and aggressive actions. It aims to guide a unified, peaceful, but compelling group of sectors that will present an alternative development paradigm to the government.

Presently, the Kilusang 99% is joined by groups from labor, farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples, environmentalists, the religious, and the academe. We are on the process of expanding the movement to include other sectors that have not yet been integrated into the mainstream social campaigns but are otherwise very crucial in the promotion of peace, justice and equality in the country.

It is for this reason that I seek your alliance and support for the movement. I­ invite you to join Kilusang 99% by organizing your ranks, promoting your social advocacies and decrying policies that undermine the rights of people. I also appeal to your network to mobilize its members to join other sectors fighting for land rights, labor rights, environment, and agrarian reform, among others. A tentative date, November 30, has been identified by the members of Kilusang 99%. On that day, peaceful protests1 will be staged by the sectoral groups all over the country. Members from the provinces can show support by holding a simultaneous solidarity activity in their respective areas, while those based in Manila can join the activities organized by the different sectors who are also members of the Movement. The Kilusang 99% will take care of media strategies to project a nation-wide indignation against crimes committed to the marginalized sectors of society.

This schedule (November 30) coincides with the culmination week of the national Anti-Poverty Summit being convened by the government and NASSA. During this time, we expect to be given undivided attention by the executive department. A nationwide support will strengthen even more the leverage of our sectoral heads in their dialogue with President Aquino after the Summit.

I understand that we are already pressed for time for this activity. But I pray that with your full cooperation and support, and through the determination and hard work of the members of the movement, we will be able to mobilize a social force that will compel our President to finally heed the cries for justice of the poor.

Should you as a Network grant this request, we will be very grateful to receive communications or any updates from your end about it. Please also be informed that we will be having our meeting this afternoon, November 10, 3:00PM at the Pope Pius Center in UN Avenue (in front of Asilo) to further polish our plans. However, if your schedule does not permit you to do so, we will be glad to discuss this with you in person so you may understand fully the concept and plans of the movement. Meanwhile, you may get in touch with Fr. Edu at 0922-8348248 and edugariguez@yahoo.com, or with honey at 09173022552 and hbeso@yahoo.com for any queries you might have.

Anticipating your favorable response to our request as I invoke the blessings of God for you and those under your care.

Sincerely in Christ,

National Director

[Statement] “STOLEN LAND” CBCP-NASSA’s Statement on Hacienda Luisita

“The joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any
way afflicted, these too are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”

(Opening line of The Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, of VC II).

The CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA JP),
lobbying for the proper implementation of agrarian reform, expresses solidarity with
the landless farmers and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita.

In exercising our prophetic ministry, we pursue the calls (1) to revoke the stock
distribution option (SDO) – a scheme that runs contrary to the spirit of the Constitution,
and (2) to lift the TRO on the compulsory acquisition of Hacienda Luisita.

Cries for justice reach the ears of the Lord; we are one with our small farmers. NASSA
recognizes that the most fundamental pillar of agrarian reform is the enforcement of the
land to the tiller principle”. Land distribution, with sufficient support services, holds
promise as a means to stem rural poverty and the wave of rural-urban migration.
History shows that the redistribution of land to landless and poor farmers can be a very
effective way to improve rural welfare. Thus, it is disappointing to note that the
Cojuangcos have managed to evade agrarian reform for more than five decades, even as
the legitimate beneficiaries of the land continue to live in grinding, abject poverty.

On behalf of our small farmers, we appeal for truth, equity, dignity and justice. The
SDO not only allowed the HLI to retain its ownership of the land but also “legitimized”
the giving out of paltry shares of stocks to the farmers. NASSA’s opposition to SDO is
grounded on the social teachings of the Church, which explicitly condemn exploitation
of human labor, especially when rewarded with wages or other forms of payment that
are unworthy of human dignity, such as in the case of the farmers in Hacienda Luisita.

We rely on the integrity of the Supreme Court to exercise its intrinsic political
independence and resolve the case according to the spirit of distributive justice of the
Constitution. The High Court, we are certain, knows full well the fact that political
“issues” impede the implementation of agrarian reform. Hence, we call on the Supreme
Court to facilitate the birth of institutional reforms capable of activating all factors that will seriously implement agrarian reform. This is best done through the speedy
dispensation justice that is devoid of political color and solely based on the merits of the

We call on the government to activate an efficient agrarian reform program which is
respectful of the people’s needs for justice and answers in an adequate way their
needs for integral development. Both former President Cory Aquino and President
Benigno Aquino III promised the distribution of the land during their election
campaigns. But now, PNoy is taking a hands-off stance on the issue on the account of
his owning only “insignificant” share in the HLI. If the so-called compromise
agreements hold out, the farmers will end up, after five decades without land, without
jobs and in deep poverty, with only 1,400 hectares out of the original 6,443, while the
Cojuangcos get to keep 4,227 hectares (about 800 hectares having been sold or used by
HLI). This, certainly, is not what agrarian justice is about.

As president of the people, PNoy can no longer stay neutral on this issue. We call upon
him to intervene on the side of the farmers. Whatever decision he arrives at will have
huge moral and political implications particularly on the current peace process with
National Democratic Front (NDF) in which agrarian reform is a central issue, and on the
poor’s reception of his affirmations that he is for the poor. As President, he “swore to
preserve and defend (the) Constitution and execute its laws.” The Constitution categorically
states that the farmers should get the land based on their “right to own directly or
collectively the lands they till.”

The resolution of the Hacienda Luisita case is a test of the administration’s political
will. It will send a strong signal for the successful, or failed, implementation of agrarian
reform. The administration will have moral high ground in distributing the remaining 1
million hectares of agricultural lands if the President’s own landholding will be given
back to its rightful beneficiaries.

Finally, we recognize the important role of the civil societies and lay faithful in the
promotion and delivery of social justice. We call on the people to support the farmers
and take up their campaign against SDO and the lifting of the TRO on compulsory
acquisition of Hacienda Luista. We bid everyone to recognize the divine presence in
each other, particularly in those who are without “voices or choices” in their lives. We
continue to pray that there will be peaceful resolution to the issue of Hacienda Luisita
and that the farmer may finally be able to enjoy the fruits of the land. Let us face the
future bound together by the faith, hope and charity that is our legacy as children of

For the Social Action Network,
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila
National Director of CBCP-NASSA