Bishop urges support for protesting Luisita farmers

Posted By: Chris On:

MANILA, July 19, 2011— An official of the Catholic bishops’ leadership called on the public to step up support for Hacienda Luisita farmers who are set to hold a protest rally on Friday.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the farmers, who “are pitted against” the family of President Benigno Aquino III, “need our assistance.”

“As Christians, we cannot allow our farmers to remain vulnerable to deception and injustice. It is high time for us to espouse their struggle for the land,” Pabillo said.

“Abandoning the agricultural sector now will not only threaten our farmers but imperil food security itself,” he said.

The prelate also reiterated his dismay over the Supreme Court ruling calling for a referendum between land and stocks, which, is a “sad conclusion” to the farmers’ “tale of hardships and injustice.”

“They placed much hope in our justice system, but even that continues to fail them,” said Pabillo, who chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

He said the problem at the Hacienda Luisita, 6,453-hectare sugar plantation in Tarlac, is clearly a failure of the government to deliver social justice.

“Its adverse consequence could set dangerous precedent on the overall implementation of the agrarian law and influence the treatment of government agencies to other land cases,” he said.

Due to the “disappointing development,” thousands of farmers from two major groups in Hacienda Luisita will hold a protest rally at the Liwasang Bonifacio on July 22 at 12:00 noon.

The program will commence with a unity march that will pass by Kalaw towards Supreme Court, and head back to Liwasan for the main program at 3:00pm.

“The Church, consistent with its mission to protect the rights of the poor and to give voice to the voiceless, is actively supporting this event,” Pabillo said. [CBCPNews]

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