Our members were able to use the knowledge we learned from the paralegal training. We worked hard until we got installed in 2017. We are still having problems in fully cultivating it though. We still don’t have an access road to use to transport farm inputs and harvest, and the landlords keep on threatening us. Despite these, our situation is so much better compared to when we were not yet installed.
Even though we have limited produce yet, at least, we can call the land our own. We can cultivate the land at our own time. After the installation, we felt that our responsibilities doubled. When the cases started coming in, we have so much to process and work on with DAR.
We’re thankful for the trainings KAISAHAN facilitated in the past years. Before these trainings, our members had very limited knowledge about our issues. The PLT deepened what they knew. Now, they know what to tell anyone who asks them about our case and issues.
The trainings, especially the ODP, helped our organization be better in handling conflicts. Conflict between members are unavoidable, but we are getting better in handling and fixing it. Combined with out paralegal skills, we were able to resolve an issue with one of our members.
After our installation, one of our inactive members wanted to enter our land. He didn’t get involved in the process from the very beginning and he is not a CLOA holder of the area, so understandably, this created a friction between him and CAYFA. But because of what we learned from the trainings, we knew what to do. We dealt with it in a legal way, and went to DAR to come up with a resolution. Our member apologized to us eventually and came up with an agreement with no hard feelings among the members.
There was another time where the learnings we gained from the trainings came in really handy. A few months after the installation, the lawyer of the landlord who used to own our land came to our community and started harassing people. He threatened to demolish our houses if we continue to work on our land rights. We confronted him with the knowledge we learned in the paralegal training. I asked for a court order. I said, “alright, you can demolish our houses. But show us the court order first.” I believe he was kind of surprised that we know about this legal stuff.
We are doing our best to extend our assistance and share what we know to other members of the community, even the non-ARBs. The things we learned are not exclusive to CAYFA.
Words by:Bulgan Macasa