Negros bishop pays tribute to farmers on eve of Labor Day
By CBCP News
April 30, 2019
In his Labor Day message, a Catholic bishop in Negros Occidental paid tribute to the province’s farmers who fell victims to violence in their struggle for their rights.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos particularly remembered the nine sugar farmers killed at a hacienda in Sagay City in 2018 that are still awaiting justice.
“The impunity in senseless killings resulting from the landlessness of our agricultural and farm workers are sad manifestations of where we are in our journey towards God’s kingdom of love, justice and peace,” he said.
As a Christian response, Alminaza called on the Basic Ecclesial Communities to have a “pastoral accompaniment” among the Sagay massacre survivors and families of those killed.
The land issue, he said, must be part of reflections among the BEC cluster groups “so that our poor farmers may not feel alone in their plight”.
“Communal action on day-today economic life must be discerned in BEC meetings and activities,” Alminaza said.
The bishop also called on leaders of peasants’ groups to make paramount the well-being of their fellow farmers “rather than resort to adventurist steps”.
Addressing the land owners, the prelate urged them to prioritize the interest of common good and denounce violence and greed.
Bishop Alminaza also reiterated his call for justice for the Sagay 9 massacre victims and for the government to address land reform disputes.