SPECIAL REPORT: A fact-finding mission to Palawan in June reported how the peasants of Yulo King Ranch have been dispossessed of the land they were tilling when it was declared a pasture land during Martial Law. Their impoverishment and landlessness show a picture of failed agrarian reform from the regime of the dictator Marcos up to Aquino.
First of two parts
Buenaventura Casimiro, 80, is one of the oldest residents in Yulo King Ranch in Palawan.
He spoke about the simple life back in the days, and how people enjoyed the fruits of the land that they earned by the sweat of their brow. Until one day, the government took the land away.
Now, Casimiro is among the thousands of peasants who are facing threats of eviction from the ranch, which spans a big chunk of the municipalities of Coron and Busuanga.
Yulo King Ranch is now classified as pasture land. But decades ago, it was being tilled by residents when the Marcos dictatorship laid claim on the land.
“How can you resist the king’s order?” Casimiro said, referring to ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, “It was martial law then and anything that the king says is an order.” (Click here to read the entire report)
Second of two parts
After Typhoon Pedring struck the country in 2011, Leonardo Merculio, 64, and his family were at a loss on how to survive. Their crops were destroyed, their farm covered with sand and stones while the rest of the community was nearly washed out when the typhoon battered their hometown in Sta. Cruz, Mindoro Occidental.
A certain Mamerto Dimayas, who hailed from San Jose, Negros Occidental, offered them a “vacant” land in Coron, Palawan. He promised the residents that there was a big chance the land would be given to them in time.
The recruited families had to pay only $5.60, a seemingly small amount of money. But for families who lost everything to the typhoon, it was all they had. Merculio’s family was among the 10 families who took the leap of faith, hoping to start a better life.
How wrong he was. (Click here to read the entire report)