The Sumilao Farmers crossing the San Juanico Bridge. November 2, 2007. To chants of “Samar na gyud!” the farmers crossed to Santa Rita, Samar from Tacloban City.
Starting from San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon on October 10, 2007, the farmers would reach Manila by foot and barge on December 3, 2007.
The march of the Sumilao Farmers was launched also on the 10th anniversary of a hunger strike they launched in 1997 to protect their claims against business interests encroaching on their land. The protest was resolved in a controversial settlement which placed the farmers at a disadvantage.
The farmers would eventually retake their land in March 2008, after more than a decade of struggling against a huge business conglomerate, several public officials and private individuals who were interested in their land.
But the victory was bittersweet. Just three months after they reclaimed their land, one of their leaders, paralegal Rene Peñas (leftmost in the picture above), would be murdered by hired assassins as he was on his way home from a meeting. The case remains unresolved.