In line with the celebration of National Farmers’ Month this May, ZABIDA sponsored a Farmers Rights Advocacy Planning-Workshop on Thursday, May 28 at its resource center office in Suterville, this city.
The activity was participated in by farmers from different organized associations and some barangay laders and youths who are taking horticulture course from ZABIDA-MYDev program.
On the rundown of the activity, Fr. Angel C. Calvo, CMF, ZABIDA President gave the welcome and Inspirational messages. He encouraged them to be one in advocating their demands, recommendations, necessities, petitions, and many others to exercise their rights. “ You should be able to identify your rights and know how to bring it up to the stakeholders, and that’s what we call advocacy,” Fr. Calvo said.
A getting-to-know-you with the participants was also initiated and facilitated by IMCON Upland Farmers Association president, Joseph Ledesma.
For the workshops, the participants were divided into two sessions. One is letting the participants respond with the two questionnaires prepared, thus, facilitated by ROOF program coordinator, Khamar Amsain. The second part of the session was the planning with the farmers through a focal group discussion to answer seven guide questions.
A processing and deepening on the understanding of the Farmers Basic Human Rights, current situation, context, issues confronted and Farmers Human Rights Advocacy Campaign was discussed by Dr. Grace Rebollos, ROOF President.
The participants were also oriented about colors through an Orientation on Visual Arts as an advocacy tool, a technical guide in painting that was shared by Nervert Aniñon, a former Youth Solidarity for Peace volunteer and currently an architect in a construction firm in the city.
The orientation was a guide for the participants in their Painting Session activity that followed. The farmers were urged to portray their first three priorities of Farmers Human Rights that they would like to advocate in its context and realities through paintings.
After their painting workshop, a gallery viewing was carried out to visit each group’s working station and elucidate their finished outputs. On the plenary sharing of insights and feelings, Office of the City Agriculturist technologist Antonio Magsino conveyed that all of the farmers rights discussed were already implemented by the government, except for the representation to the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) due to some past issues. He also shared Councilor Mike Alavar, Chairman on Agriculture Development, works with OCA to support the agricultural sector.
Furthermore, Magsino also informed the farmers that by next year the City Government is going to have an EXPORT Market for Dubai for crios like Lemon grass (tanglad), Sayote, Ginger, Sili (Espada), and Papaya among possible agri-products for market.
In the closing, ZABIDA Executive Director Espie Hupida congratulated the participants for another job well done. Not only on their active participation in the activity but also on their meaningful paintings. “Este mga trabaho di aton ta keda tamen di atun talento,”(These works of ours, also became our talents), she said.
She pointed out to the participants that as an NGO no one would believe the organization in advocating the farmers human rights, because merely they are not farmers, “That is why you are here, because you are farmers and your laments are meant to be heard,” she said.
The paintings will not be put in a closet, rather, it would be brought to some places where, the farmers may not be able to go but the paintings will speak for them and hopefully be addressed by concerned agencies or stakeholders.
“Oh, hala, el partnership ta oprese kame kuneste ara, era, pirmi se abierto,” she said optimistically.
The Farmers Rights Advocacy Workshop and Planning initiated by ZABIDA in the person of Princess Ann Maquinta, Human Rights Advocacy Staff, is the second activity in the series of same advocacy-planning workshops in the different sectors targeting women, farmers, children, and youths, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons and urban folks under the four-year new Convenio program that would would be implemented by the organization.