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HomeFeatureFor Liberating the Poor & the Oppressed

For Liberating the Poor & the Oppressed

Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera
Our Firm Salute to Mayor Raymon Gamboa & Vice Mayor Joel Padsing.Sr.

Farmers in Sitio Kibaritan, Malinao, Kalilangan, Bukidnon are now living in hunger and in extreme poverty as their farms planted with various crops such as corn, root-crops, vegetables, sugar-cane, etc. Have either been tractored, buck- hoed or griddered by military men as instructed by military superiors. The non-stop destruction of their farms is based on the contention of the AFP that Kibaritan is part of the 42,000-ha. military reservation by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 134. But such military declaration has been belied by no less than the lawyer-mayor of Kalilangan Bukidnon , Mayor Raymon Charl Gamboa, as he categorically declared that Kibaritan has never been a part of military reservation as the present occupants have been tilling their farm lands for more than 40, 50, or 60 years already when their grandparents began tilling their land since the fifties. As pointed out by the honorable Mayor, “Kibaritan has been classified as alienable & disposable and the present occupants have already acquired prior rights. It is so dangerous to convert the Sitio into military reservation as it is already a community with a Chapel, an Elementary School and a Day-care Center.” What is applicable is Executive Order 75 signed by Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte in 2019 which has already over-ruled PP 134.

But such warning from the Mayor himself has been totally disregarded to the detriment of the children, many of whom have already developed phobia and are panicking. The blasting of cannons at dawn from 3am to 7am has created so much phobia to the community especially to the children who are shouting in fear and some decided not to go to school anymore. The non-stop firing of guns and the blasting of cannons are continuously instilling fear and havoc to the children as they would recall that horrible incident which happened on March 25, 2016 when three children were victims of the blasting of an UXO (Unidentified Explosive Ordnance). There is no greater painful site on earth than to see the father of the two of the dead three victim children shouting in tears while gathering the blasted organs of his dead children while the dogs were also running for the blasted parts of the body.

Having been organized into The Kibaritan Farmers Higaonon Tribe Agricultural Cooperative, these victims of massive oppression are now shouting, “Our land is not for war but for food! KAMI PO AY TAO, HINDI BASURA.” Except for the honorable Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Kalilangan, no one seems to listen – thus, amidst so much despair, they have discovered some shocking and unbelievable information that the DENR under the then Secretaryship of Sec. Cimatu, a former AFP General and Sec. Lorenzana, the then Secretary of the DND had come -up with a Memorandum of Agreement, as narrated by Atty. Ban Michael Pacuribot, Chief Legal Officer of DENR Region 10 and CENDRO Felicisimo Escuadro, that Sitio Kibaritan was the subject of a Relocation Survey done by three geodetic firms that have been paid 20 million pesos. Backed-up by an information from the DENR Regional Office that there are no occupants in Sitio Kibaritan, which is a great lie, border markers (MUHON) were hiddenly established that included the 195-hectare Sitio into a military reservation. KAYA PALA ANG LAKAS NG LOOB NG MILITARY NA SIRAIN ANG MGA PANANIM NG MGA MAGSASAKA! Is the MOA appropriate? Is the MOA legally-binding when such has not included the participation of important stakeholders like the Local Government Unit of Kalilangan and the DAR as the putting-up of border markers must be done with transparency in consultation with stakeholders to attest that the area is classified as A&D and to certify that there are occupants there who have already acquired prior rights? These are some of the questions which are being raised by the concerned cooperative and the affected farmers.

But darkness cannot defeat the light. Amazingly, no less than the Mayor and Vice Mayor of Kalilangan, Bukidnon have heard the cry of the poor and oppressed in Kibaritan. The Sangguniang Bayan, the August Legislative Body of the municipality, is now coming-up with two resolutions APPEALING TO THE AFP NOT TO CONTINUE TREATING KIBARITAN AS A MILITARY RESERVATION BY STOPPING THE BLASTERING OF CANNONS AND FIRING OF GUNS AND TO STOP DESTROYING THE CROPS OF THE FARMERS AS SUCH IS A GROSS VIOLATION OF THE FARMERS’ HUMAN RIGHTS TO FOOD AND LIVELIHOOD. Indeed, damaging the farmers’ crops is contrary to the Constitutional provision that, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law.”

It is so amazing for the Honorable Mayor of Kalilangan, Mayor Gamboa and Vice Mayor Padsing, Sr. to exemplify what is declared in Art. XI, Sec. 1 of the 1987 Constitution which categorically states that, “Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees, must at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, loyalty and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice and lead modest lives.” We salute you Mayor and Vice- Mayor for underscoring the truism that “Public, Office and Trust carry great weight and imply sense of duty and moral responsibility. It is always a great privilege to hold an office, more so a public office and to render service honestly and fairly without fear or favor. The greater or higher is the office, the greater is the responsibility. The word office is synonymous with duty, with act of worship.” With the exemplary performance of the honorable Mayor and Vice Mayor who prior to their being elected to their respective present posts have served for many years as responsible public servants who have manifested how their amazing services have touched the lives of the poor, drawing those in the margins into the mainstream of development processes. Indeed, they have trailblazed the roadmap of service to make life better to those in need.

To Mayor Raymon Charl Gamboa and Vice-Mayor Joel L. Padsing, Sr. there is no greater grandeur sight in the world than amazing public servants, fired with a great purpose, dominated by one unwavering aim – to serve the people especially the poor and the oppressed. Their lives of service is a light amidst the darkness as the present issues of corruption continue to affect the civil service. Several reasons for these issues still exist because of the deeply rooted problems like nepotism, cronyism, militarization, political patronage as well as lack of transparency and accountability. To the honorable Mayor and Vice- Mayor, our firm salute and warm embrace!

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