I always knew that my father acquired a land under CARP, but we remained tenant farmers for many years because we were never installed until last June 2016. Before being a full-time farmer, I worked in a factory in Manila. But while working there, I thought, "para sa sakahan talaga ako." (I truly belong in the farms). That is also the time when my wife (who was with me in Manila) got pregnant. We realized that life in Manila was hard so we went back here in Leyte to start a family.
My uncle (also an ARB, Arnulfo Perez) told me about KAISAHAN. He said that he trusts the organization because he knows Nang Belen, so I believed him. Now, we are installed and cultivating our own lands. We are really thankful for KAISAHAN's help.
Life is different now from the time that we are still tilling a land that we do not own. We work hard every day but still unable to pay our debts, and it is even increasing each day. Now that we have our own land, we were able to pay our debts. I still do not have any savings, and my debts are not yet fully paid, but at least it gets smaller and smaller.
We also do not have to worry about our everyday food unlike before. We can now eat three times a day.
I have two sons. Before, when we do not have our own land and still experiencing a difficult life, I did not want them to be just a farmer like me. But now, I want them to be the tillers of the land given to my father. I do not want anybody to be working on this land since we have been through a lot for us to be able finally till it. I have risked a lot to get this land. I even have to take in a lot of curses from the former land owner. They have guns and goons, so my life was put into danger just to have this land. So, I want my family to have it-my grandchildren, and their children...
Of course, I still want them to finish school. Iba pa rin ang may natapos. (It is better if they have a degree). Maybe they could study to be agriculturists, parang yung sa DA (like in the DA). I want them to work in the farms. Farm life is better if the land that we till is ours.
Valencia Small Farmers Association (VASFA)