My family was in a difficult situation before my father started cultivating our own land. When he was still a farmworker, he goes out to work at 4 AM and comes back home at 6 PM. He was earning 70 pesos daily, and that was just enough to get us through the day. When one of us gets sick, that is another problem. It all became easier after installation.

We were lucky enough that my father learned how to be a paralegal. The topic (land rights and agrarian reform) became an open topic within our family. We, as children, learned about our rights, and we were no longer clueless about these things like before.

I always accompany my father whenever there's a meeting with the federation, DAR, or KAISAHAN. My father has trouble with writing so I help him prepare documents and write plans. Whenever I do this for my father, I always have a flashback of our previous experiences with the landlords. They really did a lot of things that violate our rights. Now, with the things I learned, the landlords can no longer step on us.

Now that my family is cultivating our own land, we were earning enough to sustain our needs. Little by little, we were also able to buy some stuff for our home and personal use. It has also changed my career plans.

I was in Grade 9 when my father got installed. My dream back then was to take Tourism Management, because I really wanted to travel a lot. And then I became aware of the issues we are facing as a farming family. Now that I am in Grade 12, when it comes to my career choices, Tourism dropped to number 3.

My first choice now is Agriculture, because our experiences in the farm in the past year changed my perspective about it. My second choice is to continue to be a lawyer. My father encouraged me to be one, and I realized that I can have more power to defend the rights of agrarian reform beneficiaries if I am a lawyer. I know it will take a long time, but my father was really encouraging and told me that it will be all worth the wait because it is an investment of a lifetime. //


Words by:

Jean Silva
Child of an Agrarian Reform Beneficiary
Leyte