Sumilao farmers marching for Robredo, Pangilinan arrive in Manila

Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 28 2022 05:30 PM

 Farmers who marched from Sumilao, Bukidnon meet with vice presidential candidate Sen. Kiko Pangilinan and sign a covenant to advance farmers and fishers agenda, at the Baclaran Church in Parañaque City on April 28, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Farmers who marched from Sumilao, Bukidnon meet with vice presidential candidate Sen. Kiko Pangilinan and sign a covenant to advance farmers and fishers agenda, at the Baclaran Church in Parañaque City on April 28, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — After traveling thousands of kilometers from Bukidnon, the Sumilao farmers have finally arrived in Manila.

They were welcomed by vice presidential candidate Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan at the Baclaran Church in Paranaque City early Thursday morning.

Pangilinan's family, including wife Sharon Cuneta, his children Frankie, Miel, and Miguel, nephew heartthrob Donny Pangilinan, and Gab Valenciano joined Pangilinan in welcoming the farmers.

Seventeen Sumilao farmers marched for 400 kilometers and rode a 2,000-kilometer caravan to make a stand and campaign for Pangilinan and his running mate, Vice President Leni Robredo, with more farmers joining along the way.

They arrived in Metro Manila after 8 straight days of marching from Gumaca, Quezon, in an attempt to repeat the historic march they did in 2007.

Noland Señas, a representative of the farmers, said that they repeated their march in solidarity with the plight of 4 million Filipino farmers.

They also joined other volunteers who are doing house-to-house, informal campaigns for Robredo and Pangilinan, he added.

"Hindi natin pababayaan na tayo ay mawalan ng demokrasya," he ended.

(We will not allow democracy to fade in our country.)

Pangilinan is running with a banner program on agriculture and food security.

"First time in many years na ginawang sentro ang mga kapos at mga nasa laylayan. Ito po ay hindi na tungkol sa kandidatura, kundi sa ating mga kababayan matagal nang napagkaitan ng suporta at makabuluhang programa," Pangilinan said on his speech.

(It's the first time in many years that the poor were placed in the center of the campaign. This is not about candidacies anymore, but about our fellowmen who were deprived of support and important programs.)

"Kapag sinabing ayusin, deka-dekada ang kailangan habulin sa pag-ayos sa programang ito," he said.

(When we say "fix," it will decades to do so.)

As a senator, Pangilinan filed the Sagip Saka Act, which has been passed into law.

He also thanked the farmers who have been active in campaigning for the tandem.

Megastar Sharon Cuneta also gave a salute to the farmers.

"Manalo man kami o matalo, hindi kayo pababayaan ni Kiko, mahal na mahal namin kayo, abot-langit ang respeto namin sa inyo," Cuneta told the farmers.

(Win or lose, Kiko and I will not leave you behind. We love you so much, and we have the highest respect for you.)

In 2007, Robredo and her husband, the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo, joined the farmers as they marched from Bukidnon to Manila to fight for their ancestral lands.

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