We, the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, reiterate our all-out support for the farmers of Sumilao, Bukidnon and detest the current media campaign to discredit, misrepresent and damage the public’s perception of this group that is on its last leg of their march from Bukidnon to Manila.
In recent days, newspaper columnists from at least three different dailies have published false information which has compromised the case of the Sumilao farmers and has tarnished the public’s perception of their cause.
Unlike the information released by those in support of the Sumilao farmers (most of which come from DAR or Supreme Court public documents and the detailed documentation of the groups that have been assisting these farmers for over a decade now), the recent information being circulated has no clear source. Certain erroneous data which could easily have been invalidated (if counter checks were made with various available sources) have also been consistently reported by the columnists. This brings into question the source and motives of the people behind the release of such information.
We furthermore wish to point out that these columnists, aside from being consistent in the errors of information, also consistently left out the fact that the San Miguel Foods Incorporated now has a large stake in the decision of this case.
That the farmers have had to suffer their plight and now are taking much pain and sacrifice in order to be heard is already in itself detestable. But for them to be further subjected to such injustice and lies, whereby their very integrity and credibility is attacked, and whereby the weak are further exploited and oppressed — such a situation is scandalously malevolent.
As such, we reiterate and resolve to further strengthen our own campaign in support of the farmers, and call on all the faithful, all men and women of goodwill to do the same. As part of our efforts to combat this further injustice that has added much insult to already deep injury, a point by point clarification vis-à-vis the false information being circulated has been published in the following websites: www.slb.ph, www.jesuits.ph, www.sumilaomarch.multiply.com and www.simbahanglingkod.multiply.com.
As the Sumilao farmers march on in their pursuit of justice, so shall we in support of their cause.
Manalangin. Manindigan. Makialam.
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan
November 29, 2007