The other storm

ANOTHER storm is brewing this week.

While “Juan” slams into northern Luzon on Monday, farmers marched from Laguna to Metro Manila in what has been dubbed as the “Lakbayan ng Magsasaka Laban sa Hacienderong Rehimen ni Noynoy Aquino.”

It’s a storm that needs more than the expertise of disaster managers. It’s a storm that needs political will. It’s a storm that Aquino should face whether he likes it or not. There’s no avoiding this kind of storm.

The farmers dubbed Aquino’s government the “Haciendero Republic,” a government run by the elite that is being supposedly used to protect the interest of the United States.

There seems to be no stopping anymore the militant farmers from pushing for their agenda against the Aquino administration. They have simple demands, they said. Land for the landless, food for the hungry. Simple.

Aquino promised food for all with the help of the United States. It’s called the Conditional Cash Transfer. The Church, however, already reacted against it. The bishops echoed what the Lord said: People should eat from the sweat of their brows.

Aquino is generally silent about the issue of land, at least when it comes to one issue that the farmers love to rub with the present administration: the Hacienda Luisita case.

The farmers who started their march on Monday said it is clear that Aquino is not following the straight path it promised during the election campaign period.

They condemn what they dubbed as the “fake” agrarian reform program the Aquino administration continues to implement.

Meanwhile, the fisherfolk sector is demanding explanations from Malacanang why the three-year P8 billion fuel subsidy for the Armed Forces.

The group Pamalakaya has been proposing a P 32-billion oil subsidy to small fisherfolk to enable them to fish and keep the wheel of production in the fisheries sector moving.

They are wondering why the government can easily fund war while trying to close its eyes on the plight of the poor.

On the other side of the metropolis, leftist lawmakers are also trying to storm Congress with calls for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all political prisoners.

They said the release of political prisoners would be a good “gesture of justice and goodwill” that may lead to renewed peace negotiations.

At present, about 400 political prisoners are languishing in various detention centers in the country.

With farmers, activist groups and leftist lawmakers storming the Aquino administration with questions and demands, we wonder how our friends in the Palace would handle it.

We just hope that our friends will learn from the lessons of history: Presidents and administrations come and go, but the struggle of the people for land and justice remains. Joe Torres

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