AROUND 3,000 Manobos, led by KASILU (Kaugalingong Sistema Igpasasindog to Lumadnong Ugpaan), simultaneously occupied and cultivated 200 hectares of land in Barangay Cawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon last September 4. The land is being claimed by Paquet Albona, Toto Espidoza and Bennie Elumba.
It has been five decades since the Manobo’s ancestral lands were taken from them. They seldom experience hunger before because they have sufficient food coming from their farmlands. They are used to “hunglusay”, a system of collective farming. They also get their medicines, clean water and materials for housing from their ancestral lands.
“Only through our collective struggle will we reclaim our ancestral lands,” according to Datu Ekil Amas, secretary of KASILU in San Fernando. Participants of the land occupation came from the 12 Manobo communities of barangays Magkalunay, Cawayan and Poblacion.
In Norzagaray, Bulacan, 60 peasant families also conducted a bungkalan (collective cultivation) of 75 heactares of land in Barangay San Mateo which is being claimed by Royal Mollucan, a real estate company. The peasants are members of Samahan ng Mabubukid sa Compra which started planting banana, palay and vegetables last September 1.
Last September 6, armed elements of Royal Mollucan attacked the bungkalan and destroyed the palay, fruit-bearing trees and vegetables, even the peasants’ make-shift houses. They also fired at the peasants last September 3.