Farmers march to Ateneo to hear Mass ahead of Malacañang rally

Farmers march to Ateneo to hear Mass ahead of Malacañang rally
12/05/2008 | 11:47 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Rival schools Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU)
and De La Salle University (DLSU) seemed to have joined forces for a
common cause when they took turns in providing refuge to protesting
militant farmers from Batangas province.

A radio report said that the farmers from Calatagan town - who began
their trek to Metro Manila last December 1 to assert their land rights
– traveled on foot to the ADMU campus in Quezon City after spending
the night at the DLSU compound in Manila.

The peasant farmers embarked on the three-day march on foot from
Batangas back to Metro Manila to protest a Malacañang order taking
away once again the piece of land that had earlier been awarded to
them by the Department of Agrarian Reform.

On Wednesday night, the group finally reached Metro Manila and was
allowed to spend the night at the St. Andrews Parish Church in
Parañaque City.

The next day, the farmers walked their way to the Senate grounds in
Pasay City to push for agrarian reform, before meeting with DLSU
president Brother Armin Luistro.

After being accommodated at the DLSU, the farmers continued with their
march and proceeded to the ADMU Quezon City for a Mass that would be
officiated by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales in the afternoon.

The group has constructed a Christmas tree made of worn-out slippers
that the farmers would offer as a gift to President Macapagal Arroyo
when they reach Malacañang.

The radio report said that the long journey had already taken its toll
on the protesting farmers, adding that an elderly woman participant
had already fallen ill and had to be carried by her companions.

GMA’s Flash Report said the group of peasant farmers from Calatagan
first trooped to Manila in December 1 to join another group of peasant
farmers from Camarines Sur that was also demanding the government to
give them ownership to their farmlands. - Mark Merueñas, GMANews.TV
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