Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo was reunited with the Sumilao farmers, eight years after their historic 1,700-kilometer walk from Bukidnon to Manila to stop the conversion of a 147-hectare agricultural land in the province.
As part of SALIGAN, a non-governmental group, Robredo provided free legal aid to the 55 farmers as they successfully fought for their right to the land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Aside from this, Robredo and her late husband Jesse, then mayor of Naga City, also welcomed and held a dialogue with the farmers as they passed through in the city in November 2007.
Last Saturday (October 24), Robredo, riding a cow-pulled cart, visited and met with the farmers and their families, who expressed full support behind her candidacy as vice president.
During their meeting, the farmers informed Robredo that their lives are much far better as they now own the land they till.
With the help of the Panaw Sumilao Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PSMPC), some of the farmers now have their own tricycle while the cooperative owns a forward truck vehicle, an elf cargo vehicle, and a multi-cab.
Yoyong Merida, founding chairman of the cooperative, said the Robredos played an important role in their successful quest to regain ownership of the land.
“Salamat Sec. Jesse at Cong. Leni sa napakalaking naiambag sa aming pagkapanalo upang maibalik sa amin ang mga lupang minana namin sa aming mga ninuno,” said Merida.
“Hindi po namin makakalimutan ang inyong pagsama sa amin,” he added.
Before becoming the representative of the 3rd District of Camarines Sur, Robredo has provided free legal aid to the poor, especially farmers.