Land means life to me having undergone different faces of living. As a little girl, I found my two sisters planting sugarcane in a big hacienda just to get few pennies for our family of 10 to survive. My family did not stay too long in the hacienda and I did not work as my sisters did when I was in my teen years. We moved to another place to find a better place...but still tilling the land that was not ours. Using the carabao, the only treasure we have, I plowed the small area to plant corn and some vegetables on week-ends. I was the source of family labor in the farm. The farm gave us assurance of healthy and cheap food that we could not secure from the market. After quitting college for several years, I worked as community organizer in the rural community where land ownership has been a critical issue. I found the people willing to die to defend their rights over a piece of land they have been tilling against the powerful politician who wanted to get the land for his cattle. I saw how the people were fought for their land... they considered their life. Now, I have a very strong belief that land is sacred... as sacred as life itself. If we do evil on the land, it will strike back on us on a hundredfold. Desertify the land and you'll have no food. Deforest the land and you'll have floods. Dig more lands for mines and you'll have landslides and polluted waters. if land is life, then it obliges us to protect it, defend it and live on it with care. Secure it from abuse. Share it with others who most need it.
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