On the occasion of GreenEarth Heritage Foundation’s first anniversary, we look back with great joy and gladness at the goodness of the LORD! We echo the Psalmist in his call to “Come into His presence with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise!” Psalm 100: 4
Starting from a contact of two farming families, 14 farming families now derive livelihood from the foundation’s demonstration farms. They have turned their backs to deforestation and have embraced the organic and sustainable agricultural way of life.
The farmers of GreenEarth have brought pride in themselves to be able to sell their products under fair pricing at last because of the kindness of numerous farm-to-table buyers who have seen the light on the importance of supporting the farmers achieve a certain level of dignity through fair trade. As a result, our beneficiaries have all become taxpayers and voluntary contributors to the Social Security System ( SSS ) and Philhealth. They are no longer focused just on the “here and now” but look into the future with renewed hope for themselves and their children’s children.
Over five thousand indigenous forest hardwoods, 2,600 coconuts, and over 800 moringa (malunggay) trees have been planted and nurtured on GreenEarth’s land. Almost 700 mango trees were discovered under our thick foliage and we added a hundred more.
We now have thousands more of seedlings of ornamental plants, ground cover, fruit-bearing trees and others thriving In GreenEarth’s nurseries, waiting to be planted at the right time.
The “kitchen garden” is now growing over a dozen varieties of organically grown vegetables and herbs which is bringing glad tidings to the family tables each week of our growing list of health enthusiasts who appreciate pesticide-free produce in the Metro Manila environs.
Very very sadly, as we kept ourselves busy and focused on accomplishing our mission, there are those who tried to mar our reputation, mock our Christian ideals, malign our intentions, shatter the honor and credibility of our land donation and last but not least, defame our land donor the past year. All glory to the God of Truth, their sinister intentions could not fool the discerning public and those that aimed to misrepresent facts cogged their wheels in the mud!
Despite internet propaganda purporting to uphold farmers’ causes calling GreenEarth Heritage Foundation’s land donor a “landgrabber” , we are pleased to announce that our land donor has been recognized to be the absolute and indefeasible title holder under the Torrens System after meticulous scrutiny of Philippine government agencies who subjected his landholdings to the litmus test of the laws of ownership, agrarian reform and all that apply. GreenEarth would not have succeeded in transferring the titles of its received donations in its name if this were not so! One would hope that in the interest of honest and ethical journalism, those that choose to publish would initially and responsibly do their homework on the facts and in the interest of balanced and fair reporting would seek to interview all concerned parties. We do realize that the world is not so. “Caveat emptor” certainly applies to the marketplace of information in circulation all around.
“The LORD is my rock and my defender” (Psalms 19: 14 ) is the Holy Scriptures’ blessed assurance to those who are on the side of truth. Truth stands on its own. It self-proclaims and is liberating. No wonder the Lord Jesus said “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!” John 8: 32.
GreenEarth Heritage Foundation is a Christian organization that upholds its ideals and core values to the highest order. We are not only proud of our guiding principles, we salute with utmost respect and gratitude the men and women who love the LORD and risk their life and limb each day to carry out our mission. We would rather cease to exist than offend the cause of Christ. We do not accept donations from landgrabbers and vow to stay away from any type of support that may compromise our Christian ideals.
With respect to GreenEarth’s land donor once and for all, it may be good for those who really want to know the truth that except for 40 hectares of ricelands of his property which has been acquired by the land reform program of the Philippines under an Order of Exemption and Finality and which has nothing to do with GreenEarth Heritage Foundation (incidentally, those that are maligning our cause and the character of our land donor may also benefit from knowing that our land donor even authorized the Dept. of Agrarian Reform ( DAR ) to add more hectares from his private property as his own grant to the country’s land reform program in benevolent consideration to the CARP program’s farmer beneficiaries there, despite never ever having had any landlord-tenant relationship with those who chose to intrude into his lands) , it is crucial for those that are deeply interested in these land issues to hear that the land that our land donor has owned for decades at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains in San Miguel, Bulacan has been certified on multiple occasions to be “over 18% slope” as far back as 13 years (1997) before GreenEarth was ever conceived. These certifications have been issued by the Philippine Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) . From our experience, these are easily obtainable records from the archived files of both the DENR and the DAR . Even the Land Bank has a rejection statement stated on DAR -released maps as far back as 2001 stating that the land donated to GreenEarth cannot be approved for acquisition under the Comprehensive Land Reform Program (CARP), which means that the landowner has the right and privilege to do what he pleases within the realm of the law to his landholding. This includes donating it to a nonprofit which is GreenEarth Heritage Foundation. Why the DAR entertains and processes applications for land ownership under their land reform program on land that has been deemed to be over 18% slope for many years is truly disturbing and deserves an open investigation in a society that values righteous governance by its public officials.
This is not to say that there truly are many landowners in the Philippines that are resistant to the Comprehensive Land Reform Program and would fight tooth-and-nail to get their lands exempted even if portions of them should really be covered according to the guidelines.
Now, in the case of GreenEarth Heritage Foundation’s land donor, how many landowners would so generously and voluntarily given up over 100 hectares (246 acres) of their private property for purposes of creating a sustainable farming community that protects and preserves the environment, assists in livelihood and community development and upholds the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Well, receiving this land as a donation brought in many surprises at GreenEarth during our first year. Little did we know that as the Bible says, “there is a time and season for everything under heaven”, a number of things that were hidden in darkness became unmasked because we came. There are sectors that got surprised and are unhappy with the spotlight being shone upon their illegal and immoral deeds.
First, each and every one of our farmer beneficiaries, including occasional carpenters and other laborers of GreenEarth have been threatened and intimidated, some even wearing black masks who would, in the dead of night, barge into their homes and say “leave GreenEarth or else…” In addition, alleged “left-leaning groups” attempted to sow fear and instigate social unrest but failed.
Through the power of His Word, the LORD instilled courage to those that have embraced our mission! “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? …” Psalms 118: 6
NONE of the farmers turned their backs to their new life despite the threats. Our beneficiaries were quick to realize that those who threaten them only wish to prolong their lives’ hardships and keep them bound in the vicious cycle of poverty, hopelessness and misery. After all, the land that is now called GreenEarth has been duly titled unto this community of hard-working tillers of the soil who have preferred our mission over their miserable status-quo. Throughout their lives, they have yearned a new order , a new hope. All glory to God for empowering the weak and confounding the wise.
Second, GreenEarth suffered eight bush and forest fires during its first year. Two people have been caught in the act of cutting trees and mouthing threatening verbiage “if I can’t get the harvests of these trees, I will just make sure I will destroy them!” These incidents have been reported verbally and in writing to the local police, military rangers, the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Agrarian Reform and Agriculture, respectively. GreenEarth has been protected despite its lack of resources and government support purely through the power and grace of the Almighty God.
In this milieu of threats and spate of fires, the LORD has inculcated a spirit of courage and loyalty in the hearts of the GreenEarth farmer beneficiaries. Purely on their own volition, several of them rose to the occasion by volunteering to move to the most vulnerable of GreenEarth’s lands. God our Provider brought in generous supporters who rewarded these farmers with new and safer homes to live in as a result of their sacrificial volunteerism to protect the land that has been dedicated to His cause.
Third, two farming families openly admitted to being hired hands of a landgrabbing couple representing a wealthy financier who paid them money upfront and continue to salary them monthly to watch over land which they were hoping to acquire through dummy applicants within the Philippine land reform program. These dummies were so easily exposed as none of them lived on the land where they are stated to be “claimants” on documents originating from the DAR.
GreenEarth had no idea who these landgrabbers were. The locals spoke about them openly. Many farmers benefitted from them in the area. They employed farmer caretakers, gave commissions to those who did work and errands for them, etc.
Finally, most likely after enduring many months of agony, anger and sleepless nights a particular couple could not be at peace anymore ever since the land they were hoping to own was donated to GreenEarth Heritage Foundation. A little over one month before GreenEarth’s first anniversary, this particular couple sent word through their local “caretakers” to the community organizer and on-site agriculturist of GreenEarth Heritage Foundation, requesting for earnest audience.
During their meeting, in the presence of their wards and other local farmer-settlers as witnesses, this couple intimated to the foundation’s personnel “purchasing” hectares of land owned by GreenEarth’s land donor under dummy names through the help of named employees of the DAR who received agent’s fees for every certificate that they processed. To prove their relationship to one DAR employee, the couple called her on her cell phone and put it on speaker phone for everyone to hear their conversation. This couple’s seeming motivation to expose their transaction is their sense of helplessness and anger at the situation they got themselves into which they now realize will not reap the rewards they have hoped for. They could not accept the sad reality that the “millions of pesos” (in their own words) that they have spent already investing on the land and paying off government employees and other local accomplices involved will not lead to legitimate land titles in their hands.
This landgrabbing couple showed up live on second occasion at GreenEarth’s sponsored town hall meeting in June 2010 to bewail their plight publicly —“we didn’t know…..we didn’t know that the Dept of Agrarian Reform people cannot be trusted, they said that everything we did with them was ok, was ok……”, pointing fingers, and hurling accusatory verbiage at various DAR officials present.
We praise GOD that in the fullness of time as He promises in His Word “there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be made known” Luke 12: 2. As to this couple’s true financier, we wait upon the LORD to reveal.
The landgrabbing couple asked the rhetorical question publicly “how will you feel if you were in our place? We spent millions on this transaction with the express approval and assistance from employees of the Department of Agrarian Reform, having full faith that all will be fine? We planted a lot of those trees now on GreenEarth’s land!”
The Bible has the answer in Ecclesiates 2: 26:
“To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.”
All of the above are documented by sworn testimonies, photos and videos. May the Department of Agrarian Reform of the Philippines who has been openly accused of corruption within their ranks in a public forum be stirred by the Spirit of God to investigate these allegations. As the Bible says, it is only when we turn from our wicked ways will the LORD bless and heal our land (2Chronicles 7:14 ).
Fourth, as if all of the above were not enough, those who desire for GreenEarth not to succeed went on a propaganda around the locality NOT to help the foundation in any way, shape or form. Praise the living God that He is not limited by people’s schemes and geographic bounds! The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords has the power to mobilize His workers from all of over the world!
GreenEarth’s land was anointed with oil and dedicated unto the LORD by visiting pastors and workers of a Christian international ministry before the land was transferred in title to the foundation. A military official from the nearest camp who has given his life to Christ joined the land dedication day and asked that his soldiers be given a bible study (“Purpose Driven Life” series) by the visiting pastors and evangelists that they too may come to know and serve the Almighty God.
A few months later, a church looking for a venue for their environmental Church day came to GreenEarth as its first tree-planting volunteers. These volunteers were pastors, linguists, engineers, physicians and Bible teachers who aside from planting trees, blessed our farming families with a day of teaching and sharing of God’s Word.
A few weeks later, a few of these pastoral workers came again, bringing with them a colleague who felt the call to serve in the mission field of GreenEarth. This pastor has since lived with our people for the last 10 months now, teaching them about the love and gift of salvation of our Savior and Lord Jesus each and every farming day.
At the turn of the New Year, PanAmerican Broadcasting of the United States kindly brought the message of GreenEarth on Christian radio through their tie-ups in the Philippines . PanAm has been bringing the gospel of Christ around the world , one soul at a time since 1936. Over a hundred strong supporters have patronized our farmers’ produce and many more have visited our website. People began to donate. We are grateful to the growing list of individuals and institutional donors who are believing in our mission each day. The quality of our advisory board and full-time staff is a blessing! We are very proud of the men and women who serve GreenEarth. They are people of exemplary professional ideals who love their country and love the Lord. We are humbly amazed and profoundly grateful to witness how God is bringing in His hand-picked workers to serve GreenEarth.
As we enter our second year, we continue to trust in the LORD and His promises more than ever. We will spend more time on our knees and put more legs in our prayers, believing that the GOD we serve never changes. He is the same “yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13: 8. The LORD is on GreenEarth’s driver’s seat and is in full control. Blessed be His Name!