Farmers’ groups from Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus — collectively known as BTL — marched to the University of Santo Tomas yesterday noon for the welcome activity of Baktas BTL: Fight for Land and Life.
Other than the right to till the land, Baktas BTL brings farmers’ issues of lack of social services in Bukidnon. While they are able to stay on their land through their collective assertion, services such as irrigation, food, health, and others are absent, making the lives of farmers difficult.
Also in Bukidnon, the farmers are fighting alongside the Lumad in their demand for their right to their ancestral domain, which had come under the control of the Central Mindanao University through a presidential declaration under Carlos P. Garcia. Together with the Lumad, they demand that the government and Central Mindanao University (CMU) to recognize their rights to land and ancestral domain.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – Northern Mindanao chapter, of which the BTL organizations are part of, also carries the call, #StopKillingFarmers, with already 81 farmers killed in Duterte’s time as president.
The farmers also call for the passage of the long-due Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, call for the lifting of martial law in Mindanao.
After the welcome march, the farmers’ groups and their supporters from the national capital marched to the Bantayog ng mga Bayani at Quezon City, ending at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) at about 5:00 pm, groups who joined the protest march held a short program at the Quezon City circle.
Bukidnon farmers and support groups of Baktas BTL arrived the other night and stayed at the Iglesia Filipina Independiente at Taft Avenue, Manila.
The groups are expected to erect makeshift camps at the foot of the DAR national office later in the afternoon and stay there until the peak of Peasant Month on Oct. 25.
Baktas BTL is the journey of 100 farmers of Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon 1,497 kilometers away from their homes to register to the national capitol their right to 517 hectares of land in CMU. (rmp nmr)