Land and Justice
Text and Photos by Basilio H. Sepe
"Land" and "Jusitce" were the words written on the face of Terry Tarlac as she joined thousands of landless farmers who held a protest rally calling for the immediate distribution of 30,000 hectares of sugar cane lands in Sagay City in the province of Negros Occidental last March 8, 2019.
Terry currently serves as the president of Task Force Mapalad (TFM) Negros Occidental and Oriental. She has been fighting for land distribution in her province for decades as hacienda owners continue to oppose land distribution by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), which is authorized to implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). She urged the President to be more aggressive in his agrarian reform program and fulfill his promise in ending land monopoly and the rule of powerful hacienderos in the province.
On October 2, 2019, more than 800 poor sugarcane farmers once again marched and held a protest in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) provincial office in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental where several of their sons shaved their heads to dramatize their demand for land under the government’s agrarian reform program.
The group marched towards DAR to call for President Rodrigo Duterte’s immediate distribution of thousands of hectares of sugarcane land on Negros island, an issue that has helped foster decades of communist rebellion in a region with stark contrasts of extreme wealth and appalling poverty.