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HomeOpinionXavier Science Foundation Hears the Cry of the Hungry & the Oppressed

Xavier Science Foundation Hears the Cry of the Hungry & the Oppressed

Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera

Rectifying Social Wrongs Thru Advocacy: The Liberation Path Against Oppression 

“Araw-araw sinisira ang aming mga pananim, inaagaw ang aming mga lupain at takot kami na patayin. Kami po ang isang libong pamilyang Ilocano at kami po ay nananawagan ng agarang tulong dahil wala ng tatapat pang ganitong klaseng pag-alipusta at pang-aapi”

That has been the cry of thousands of Ilocano farmers in Amai Manabilang, Lanao del Sur since last year but no one seems to listen not even the Commission on Human Rights whose primary duty is to safeguard the human rights of the poor and the oppressed. But most recently, it was so amazing that food has been supplied in the area that brought joy and ecstasy to the hungry by no less than the Xavier Science Foundation whose very passionate Chief Executive Officer, CEO ROEL R. RAVANERA has exemplified to the highest degree the essence of love and service to the oppressed, the poor and vulnerable. The Foundation which is well-rooted in the amazing cultural heritage of the Jesuit university has showcased that empowerment and capacity building of the marginalized sectors means drawing them into the mainstream of development processes.

Social scientists have declared that in a country oozing with abundant resources, WHO DECIDES?  WHO CONTROLS? WHO BENEFITS? Only a few oligarchs as the bulk of the population are deprived of access and control over their resources Land, water and electricity are means to life and should be owned and managed by the people themselves. But such has not been the case in this country, even pretending to be cooperatives as in the case of electric cooperatives which are cooperatives in name only but do not recognize members as MCO (member-consumer-owners).  That alone is a great social injustice but there is no greater social injustice when farmers are coercively bring evicted from the farms that their ancestor-settlers have been farming since the 1950s as what is happening now in the municipality of Amai Manabilang. 

The painful trauma besetting the Ilocano famers has brought them into the precipice of extreme poverty and hunger which should have not happened if only the rule of law has been followed by agencies of government whose mandate is to exercise their duties to the highest degree of commitment, dedication and service to the Filipino people and not to foreign corporations. Let us first know who are these being the subject of non-stop coercion for them to forcibly vacate their farms to be replaced by foreign investors/corporations.

Hard-working, compassionate and with high reverence to nature, some 1,000 Ilocano farmers coming from La Union, Pangasinan and Tarlac known as LAPANTAR came to Mindanao in the 1950’s and 60’s as settlers and have wonderfully developed the blessed land in Amai Manabilang known then as Bumbaran (Francfort and Upperport). In the last 60 years, the settlers and their descendants have wonderfully developed their agricultural lands sustainably following natures and sustenance economy, treating nature as like a “home” where their basic needs and the communities are provided for. Their long years of farming speaks well that they have already acquired prior rights over their land, following diversified and integrated sustainable agriculture and the ones supplying vegetables ie., cabbage, potato, carrots etc. to Davao and Cagayan de Oro City and the ones supplying sugarcanes to two manufacturing sugar plants, namely Crystal and BUSCO.

What pains them no end that in the process of driving them out, violence is being employed. What is so troubling was what happened on JULY 16, 2000 when some 21 Ilocano farmers including a pregnant woman were forced to enter the mosque and then MASSACRED. Such horrible crime was even disallowed to be covered by the Media. After more than two decades, no killer has been arrested. All the farmer-residents are now suffering so much anguished and living in fear every now and then, their planted crops i.e., sugarcanes, vegetables, corn, and root crops which are supposed to be harvested are now being tractored and destroyed without let-up since last year until now.

Glaringly, instilling fear and harassment and destructions of their farm crops are means of massive coercion for eviction. What is so painful is that it is not only the continuous damaging of their farms and planted crop that are the means of ousting them now. Recently, two houses have been backhoed, transferred and became the homes of armed CAFGUS What is even horrible is the cutting of their water supply.  Such violation of their basic human rights is by the LGU shows that the poor farmers are being treated as disposable wastes. Such travesty of the laws and morality should now be stopped and concerned agencies and corporations must be made accountable.   

Such travesty has pushed them to extreme poverty, without food & water and even shelter having been deprived of their livelihood without due process of law, thus the most aggrieved and have been crying for help as they are now falling into the precipice of hunger and desperation. They are now quivering not in fear but in anger as glaringly, the rule of law have been violated contrary to the pronouncement that in country, no one is above the law, all must bow down to the majesty of the law because we follow the rule of law and not of money, power and the guns. MABUTI PANG MAMATAY NA LUMALABAN KAYSA MAMATAY SA GUTOM!

Seeking redress of grievance is not through violence as the Ilocano farmers are peace-loving, despite the fact that the military is justifying its presence thru red-tagging every time SPDA is tractoring their farms. For the oppressed Ilocanos, fighting for what is right, what is true and what is just is through advocacy by building alliance with those who believe is the slogan, VERITAS LIBERABIT VOS (The Truth Shall Set Us Free). For them, seeking social justice is the call of the times in a country where economic power begets political power and vice versa. Thus, the oppressed Ilocanos were so happy when three astonishing Archbishops, namely, Arch. Emeritus Tony Ledesma, S.J., Arch. Jose Cabantan and Bishop Noel Pedregosa, have written no less than PresBBM who is their KABABAYAN for His Excellency’s urgent action. 

Amidst their desperate cry and appeal for help, we firmly salute the Xavier Science Foundation as it exemplified oneness, feeling the pains of the oppressed. Now they can eat as their children are now crying of hunger. They are ardently praying that somehow, the oppressors will also feel their pains by stopping the continuing destruction of their farms, the livelihood that have sustained them all these years, trusting in nature’s and sustenance economy. DAGHANG SALAMAT XAVIER SCIENCE FOUNDATION FOR HEARING THE CRY OF THE HUNGRY AND THE OPPRESSED. Indeed, what King Solomon has said in Ecclesiastes is correct when he said, “Wealth, fame and power are meaningless, utterly meaningless. What is important is how we have served the least of our brethren.” In a world that is giving high veneration to the profit motive that has already captured the mindset of all governments, all institutions, all universities and even of religious groups, the SATANIC EGO is winning that is focused on object consciousness. The time has come to go into another dimension, to leap up to vast spaciousness and stillness, to the FORMLESS CONSCIOUSNESS to connect with the UNSEEN FORMLESS BEING CALLED GOD.  In that dimension, the UNIVERSAL INTELLIGENCE GOVERNS that will unfetter the homo sapiens from the EGOIC MINDSET. That NEW CONSCIOUSNESS is the most awaited Second Coming that will transform life on earth. Thus, no more hunger and oppression as what is happening now to thousands of Ilocano farmers in Amai Manabilang!

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