Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Lupang Hinarang is a film in two parts about a fierce and deadly battle raging between farmers and landowners in the Philippines. The documentary opens with the tribal Sumilao farmers, Ka Rene, Linda and Bajekjek, who, inspired by Gandhi’s protest march, journey on foot for two months from their mountain village in Bukidnon to the presidential palace in Manila.
It is a gruelling 1,700 kilometer journey through scorching heat, rains, fatigue, and great uncertainty. After weeks of walking, the farmers reach Manila, rally at the corporate offices of San Miguel, confront the agrarian reform secretary and grapple with anti-riot police before finally meeting the President.
The second part tells the story of the sugarcane workers from Negros. When the landowner’s armed guards kill one of the farmers in 2007, Chay Lindy, Chay Gamay, and Chay Biray go on a harrowing 29-day hunger strike with other farmers on the steps of the agrarian reform office in Manila. The hunger strike results in victory for the farmers until the film ends in a shocking climax.
Lupang Hinarang is a timely documentary set against ongoing debates in Congress to extend and reform CARP (CARPer) or to kill it.