MANILA, July 19, 2011â€” An official of the Catholic bishopsâ€™ 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 â€œare pitted againstâ€ the family of President Benigno Aquino III, â€œneed our assistance.â€
â€œAs 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,â€ Pabillo said.
â€œAbandoning the agricultural sector now will not only threaten our farmers but imperil food security itself,â€ he said.
The prelate also reiterated his dismay over the Supreme Court ruling calling for a referendum between land and stocks, which, is a â€œsad conclusionâ€ to the farmersâ€™ â€œtale of hardships and injustice.â€
â€œThey placed much hope in our justice system, but even that continues to fail them,â€ said Pabillo, who chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishopsâ€™ 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.
â€œIts 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,â€ he said.
Due to the â€œdisappointing development,â€ 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.
â€œThe Church, consistent with its mission to protect the rights of the poor and to give voice to the voiceless, is actively supporting this event,â€ Pabillo said. [CBCPNews]