Sunday, February 15, 2009

Life must go on………….

“Life must go on, even if each day takes me doubly hard as a single parent . I have resolved to work hard for my children who are my inspiration,” Declares Jocelyn, who now earns a living as a farmworker in the collective sugarcane farm owned and managed by SFAWMULCO. She raises a few heads of chicken and grows vegetables in her backyard for consumption. However, the slow pace of meting justice to Nonoy and scores of farmer-leaders still languishing in jails throughout Negros Oriental, depresses Jocelyn and SFAWMULCO and NOFARBO (Negros Oriental Federation of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries’ Organizations) who have exhausted their resources in search for truth and justice. Through the assistance of NIRD, NOFARBO launched the Nonoy Foundation established to organize and aid displaced families of victims of social and agrarian injustice. NIRD, NOFARBO and SFAWMULCO (an affiliate of NOFARBO) are shelling out financial and material resources to support litigation of cases filed in civil and agrarian courts.

Jocelyn, Tangtang and Nellyn admitted that they are still nursing the emotional and psychological wounds they have sustained because of Nonoy’s disastrous death, which have affected and displaced their family. She remembered Nonoy’s dreams about the future of their children “that no matter what happens, let the children go to school.” The children are in school. Neonito III or “Tangtang,” now 14 years old is a student in one of the secondary schools in Dumaguete City. Ms. Rosemarie Gonzales, NIRD’s Advocacy and Network Officer supports Tangtang to school and serves as his guardian.

Diversified farming system where rice (in terraces) is integrated with vegetables (legumes) and inland fishery (fresh water fish).

SFAWMULCO optimizes the utilization of the 208-hectare land awarded to them, improving local knowledge and practices and combining them with sustainable agricultural technologies they learned both from NIRD and farmer-cooperators. SFAWMULCO is selective in accessing and using external resources, owing to the previous experiences of rice and vegetable growers who lost their lands due to their inability to repay the loans provided for petro-chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other external inputs.

Samie’s organic vegetable garden and banana plants in the background. LEISA for his sugarcane farm, with sprinkling water hose used during warm and sunny months of January and February 2003.

Cecilia “ Nang Celia” Oberio, a 48-year old rice farmer in Angas, Barangay Mabigo wrote NIRD about her experience as Masipag Rice Technology (MRT) practitioner and what MRT did to her life as a rice farmer. Like Jocelyn, she raised her children as a single parent. Her first husband died of lingering ailment. She took over the less than a hectare rice farm left uncultivated by her late husband. She was not able to send her children beyond elementary school because income from their farm is barely enough for food consumption. Nang Celia would get menial jobs serving the landowners and local businesspersons in Canlaon, just so she could buy dried fish, salt and medicine for her malnourished children. When the children grew old enough to live on their own, Nang Celia remarried and bore another child who is now nine years old.
In 1999, Nang Celia acquired two hectares as CARP beneficiary. She and her husband pursued rice farming by adapting MRT. “Income from production increased little by little each year, while production co st went down proportionately. We saved whatever amount we could. Last 2001 when we had surplus income, we bought ourselves a carabao. We are about to finish another project, a new house. I owe these to MRT”
Nang Celia’s old house (left) and new house (right) under construction.

Nang Celia’s rice field is flowering now. She expects a bigger harvest so that she can finish the construction of her new house. She hopes that by the end of second cropping this year her family may be able to occupy their new house.


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