Robredo daughter in tears as she welcomes Sumilao farmers
MANILA, Philippines – On Tuesday, May 2, the Sumilao farmers finally marked the end of their Bukidnon-to-Manila caravan. The 19-day journey was their way of supporting the vice presidential bid of Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo, who championed their cause almost 9 years ago.
Tricia Robredo, Leni's second eldest daughter, welcomed the farmers and their supporters. She was in tears as 22 farmers handed her a bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums.
"Sabi nila, pasensya na dahil ito lang ang kaya nilang ibigay. Hindi niyo lang po alam, ito po ang pinaka-espesyal na bulaklak na natanggap ko," Robredo said. (They said they felt sorry they could only give me these.You just didn't know that these are the most special flowers I have ever received.)
The young Robredo said that small gestures of support fuel their desire to help make her mother win. She was 13 years old when her parents supported the Sumilao farmers' plight in 2007.
In the 1990s, the farmers from Bukidnon found out that their ancestral land, which they had been tilling for generations, already belonged to someone else because they had no official land title. They fought for years, staging a hunger strike in 1997, before marching to Manila in 2007 and gathering wide public support.
The oldest participant in the caravan, 64-year-old Linda Ligmon, said she has been campaigning for Leni since the legislator announced her vice presidential bid.
"Lumakbay kaming masaya, para kay Leni Robredo (We're glad we marched for Leni Robredo)," Ligmon said.
Ligmon was one of the Sumilao farmers who joined the march in 2007. She met Leni and the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo when their historic journey to Manila reached Naga.
She said that she decided to march again with the farmers, 9 years after their successful caravan, to give back to Leni. They believe she is the best vice presidential candidate who can represent the interest of marginalized sectors like theirs.
Leni, who was a human rights lawyer before she entered politics, supported the plight of farmers, among other issues carried by several marginalized groups. As part of her work with the non-governmental legal group Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (Saligan), she defended the Sumilao farmers as a volunteer lawyer.
Launched on April 15, the caravan passed through several provinces including Quezon, Naga, Cebu, Albay, Samar, Leyte, Cagayan de Oro, Davao before reaching Manila.
On Friday, April 29, the Sumilao farmers were welcomed by Robredo in her hometown Naga City. The gathering was reminiscent of the 2007 march where they were greeted by the Robredo couple. Only this time, Jesse Robredo was no longer there. Instead, they were welcomed by Leni near the late secretary's grave at the Eternal Gardens in Naga.
Will their 25-day caravan translate to enough votes that could make their vice presidential bet win? - Rappler.com