COMPOSTELA, Compostela Valley Province – Typhoon Pablo survivors in the province planted not less 1,500 seedlings on Tuesday in their areas that were once flattened in December 2012.
Spearheaded by Barug Katawhan, the tree-plantng was also symbolic of the dismay of farmers and residents of Compostela Valley “to the slow response of government in providing their needs to rebuild their communities.”
The 1, 500 seedlings was a mix of coconut, cacao, and narra that were donated by church and sectoral organizations, Karlos Trangia, leader of Barug Katawhan said.
Nearly 800 farmers from Pablo-ravaged communities joined the tree planting two days ahead of the nationwide- synchronized Treevolution on September 26 which aims to plant million trees in Mindanao.
The tree-planting also formally launched “Panagtikad sa Uma”, which Barug Katawhan aimed to unite the typhoon Pablo survivors to contineously press government to heed their demands of livelihood assistance.
“Today is the launching of Panagtikad sa Uma where farmers and peasants from various Pablo-ravaged communities will plant trees to show that we can slowly rebuild our communities if we are united,” Trianga said.
The Department of Agriculture XI estimated that 80,000 hectares of land has been badly affected by typhoon Pablo (international code name Bopha.)
Trianga said revealed however, that their lands were slowly grabbed by big logging concessionaires and foreign-owned large scale mining companies operating in some areas in Compostela Valley province.
“Some 60,000 certificates of ancestral domain title in Compostela Valley province were already sold to Kalumaran and National Commission for the Indigenous People’s (Ncip),” said Trianga.
Barug Katawhan claimed that National Commission for the Indigenous People’s (Ncip) acted as a sponsor that allowed the entry of large-scale mining companies in the province.
“We already submitted our position before the local government to stop the operations of illegal logging and open-pit mining in our areas awaiting for the action of the Council.”
Wednesday’s tree planting activity were participated by Monkayo Farmers Association (Mofa), Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa New Bataan (Namaneba), Pag-asa Lantawan Small-scale Miners Association (PPLSSMA) Compostela Farmers Association (Cfa), and National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan). (davaotoday.com)