Productivity has been a part of my goals for my entire life. But for any reason, I didn’t know how to pursue everything or anything or something. Only I know was that I have wisdom to make the right choice of how will I spend my life without aggravating others or, the other way around, without me sacrificing so much.
As said on the previous blog I’ve posted, I spent the one-week term break with something prolific. One of which (actually there’s only two) was the solidarity immersion at Hacienda Luisita. Solidarity in a way of not just visiting the place and knowing their situation but, in a very deeper sense, to empathize with the struggles of the farm workers and understand better the issue of land ownership.
I have been reading a lot of articles and statements about the Hacienda Luisita issue, which means before going in there, I already have knowledge and point of view with the issue and already asked questions which can only be cleared out to me by those who are involve and none other.
The personal talk with the farm workers was really different from second-hand sources. While reading articles, true or not, you may be informed and learned. But everyone misses the art of empathy. More than mental approval, there’s psychological impact that for me should take into account. It’s hard for me to understand everything if I don’t hear it from the lead character. That is why hearsay are just coming in to my ears and not absorb by the brain.
The 3-day immersion at Barangay Asturias, one of the barangays occupied of Hacienda Luisita, immediately started in confrontations with the elders of that place. As foreword, I could say,they were really angry with the situation and to the Conjuanco’s. As we entered the house, while the issue is being focused under the spotlight, I’m sure I felt no tension.
Because of that, I know we were welcome at that place although we didn’t treat ourselves as visitors. We are not entitled for it. The night of that day, we planned the activities for the whole immersion and distributed house chores to each team. At the very first place, we don’t want to be ‘pabigat’ to them. Instead, a help for some time.
The team didn’t waste single time. As soon as we get a chance to talk to anyone there, we grab it and asked questions which are unclear to us. And everytime answers were being provided, slowly are mind were getting apparent.
During the 1957 acquisition of Hacienda Luisita of Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) from Spanish owner, there had been an agreement with Philippine Government together with GSIS and Central Bank (government units where Conjuanco’s took a loan) that the land will be distributed to those residing in it after 10 years. But on 1967, Conjuanco’s didn’t give up the land. Instead, Pres. Cory’s mom reason out that no one had been there during that time.
WHAT? Imagine, the almost 7000 hectares of land was improve by the Conjuanco’s alone? Isn’t it impossible? And because of that stupid motive, the issue has brought up to this time. But the people of hacienda has proof. Lolo Cleto is a 73-year-old resident of Luisita. So they can’t say no one was seen living on that area. According to lolo, his family was already there since American times. And those times were era of struggles and wars. So there’s no chance for them to vacate and seek places for a better living.
Well, since that happened let’s just accept it. But I believe as Christians, we were asked to help our fellow people. And it is our moral responsibility to give a hand to the one’s needing it. So hadn’t seen people or not, they should have given the land to those who has no land and way of earning a living. Right?
OBSERVATION: From the time of acquisition, they seemed not sincere to the contract. They likely had a black motive to the land which until now is reigning to their bloods.
We also visited the farm to experience the life of a farmer. We tried to harvest rice (although I got no chance) and put it all together. It is really hard, I am telling you! First rival was the sun light; second, the mud; third, the sickle (wrong handling is one less finger!).
And from that, I just felt guilty of wasting rice and foods. According to Pipoy, one of the youth leader of SAKDAL, farmers earn only a sack of rice for every 10 sacks they have collected. No money was given(if there is, maybe too little amount) since planting of rice within Luisita is something against the Cojuanco’s Azucarera. Imagine, we are wasting the efforts they have provided to give us something to eat. *sigh*
Aside from that, I became so inspired because of the youths who have taking part and position to this struggle. I got a chance to talk to Pipoy. He’s not a son of a farmer nor a part of this issue. But with his compassion, he take the lead to support the farmers. And what’s interesting was that, his parents, who are DSWD and city hall workers, do not know what and where he was in. More interestingly was that, his lolo, who got an 80-hectare land from the Conjuanco’s because of being loyal to them, has different perspective compared to him making them in trouble. And the last, this guy speaks well in front of everybody. And I just realized, how come this guy who’s out of school speaks well than my schoolmates here in Benilde! Just wondering! :) Maybe, his experiences molded him to be like he is.
Throughout the immersion, I felt pitiful to them. They have been fighting for their lives for so long time yet they still achieved not their aspirations, their land. More pitiful to children ages 10 and below. While I was playing with them, they were so happy to be with. But at the end of that day, I just realized that at the time they grew up and still the issue hasn’t been resolved, their young minds will right away be taken out to them and will be the next responsible to this never-ending story!
Although lives had been sacrificed, they still stood up and looked forward to their own land. With that I also felt hopeful that sooner today, they will hear the last reading of Supreme Court with smile and satisfied hearts. And people will realize things that everything went wrong will be corrected and accepted. That is the rule of nature!
And to my part, I became more determined to support and make a move for the farm workers. I know in a little way, I can do something great to their soon achievement. Let’s claim it! They will win by God‘s grace. :))
***sorry if there’s no pic! my camera is busted while my friend hasn’t yet uploaded his shots!