Strangers in Our Own Land
“Mama! Mama! I’m scared! We have to move out now! The water is rising!” nervously shouted my preschool daughter. I hugged her tightly. The frightening darkness and sounds of lightning and thunder raced with the angry rushing waters brought by Typhoon Frank.
Researches revealed that mining operations, illegal logging and land conversions by big local and foreign capitalists are the main causes of flashfloods and landslides. Twenty typhoons hit the Philippines every year. Millions were displaced, hundred were buried alive and billions worth of properties were damaged.
Yet, government continues offering our land to foreign investors with no environmental restrictions. In 2005, the government approved three million hectares for foreign agro-corporations, which includes 60,000 hectares to Pacific Bio-Fields Corp. of Japan.
“Mama, don’t worry. When I grow up, I will find a safe place for us. I will plant trees so there is no flood anymore. Did you hear me Mama?”
“Yes, you will grow up like Mom and Dad. Together, we will work for a government that will give lands to the landless and home for the homeless Filipinos, a government that will protect our lands from hostile strangers. I promise, we will never be strangers in our own land neither helpless victims of disasters forever.”
“Okay Mama,” she whispered. Breathing deeply, I couldn’t hold back my tears inside the crowded evacuation center . I kissed my daughter’s hair as she sleeps on my shoulder waiting for the sunrise.