Farmer Dies, 2 Others Wounded
in Agrarian Reform Violence
2 photo-journalists also harassed in La
reform farmer-beneficiaries who have occupied a land awarded to them are
attacked by a rival farmworkers’ union identified with the Benedictos last
Thursday. One was killed and two others were wounded in the fracas.
Edgar A. Cadagat and Karl G.
CITY -- Barely two months after several violent confrontations between
farmer-beneficiaries and landowners backed by their security guards and the
police took place in different parts of Negros Occidental, another melee broke
out between the same protagonists last March 6.
the Thursday incident, a worker died while another was wounded when members of a
rival workers’ union identified with the landlowner and backed by blue guards
allegedly attacked them in Hacienda Ezperanza, Barangay (village) Nagasi, La
Carlota, central Negros Occidental.
photojournalist Archie Rey Alipalo and a companion, visiting Japanese
photojournalist Munesuke Yamamoto who came to cover the dispute, were also
repeortedly harassed by Kitchie Benedicto’s daughter and a group of workers
who were with her. Yamamoto is with the Tokyo-based Pacific Press Service.
from a single wound which hit him in the shoulder was Diony Gaylan, 29, while a
57-year old worker, Monserat Zayco, was wounded. Zayco was hit in the back with
a .38 caliber bullet which exited through his elbow. He was brought to the Don
Salvador Hospital in La Carlota.
wounded was Angeles Gaylan, 63, mother
of Diony whose elbow was grazed by bullets.
Secretary Roberto Pagdanganan himself came to Hacienda Esperanza Friday and
vowed justice for the victims among the farmer-beneficiaries.
are determined to implement the agrarian reform , and for the meantime, we will
ensure that no further untoward incident happens while studying a permanent
solution to the problem,” Pagdanganan said.
Rodrigo Anoran of the Philippine Independent Church (PIC) who is helping the
farm workers and Angelito Estama of the Nagasi Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries-
Multipurpose Cooperative (NARB-MC) said that they were working on a parcel of
land - lot 799 - awarded to them under the government’s agrarian program
Thursday afternoon when a group of workers belonging to Workers Amalgamated
Union of the Philippines (WAUP) led by Malibu Agricultural Corporation’s
manager Jomar Alonzo and backed by four tractors and blue guards arrived. A
confrontation immediately took place with the alleged attackers trying to drive
the farmer-beneficiaries away.
the melee, shots rang out. Gaylan, his mother and Zayco were hit by .38 caliber
revolvers. The bullet that hit Gaylan on the shoulder lodged in his chest
without exiting. He died in the hospital for loss of blood.
farmer-beneficiaries said the rival group who are loyal to the Benedictos were
carrying short arms while blue guards were armed with shotguns.
Farmer-beneficiaries retaliated by hurling cans filled with kerosene which
brought fire to a nearby sugarcane field. The fire was put out by firemen that
also said policemen belonging to the RMG, soldiers and La Carlota City policemen
who were around just stood by as the farmer-beneficiaries were being attacked by
the enraged rival workers.
farmer-beneficiaries were only working on the parcel of lands awarded them under
the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Fierce conflict had previously
broken out as the WAUP-affiliated workers insisted that the parcel of land
should instead be awarded to them. The farmer-beneficiaries and the Benedicto
heirs with Jomar Alonzo, farm manager, had been at odds since then.
by witnesses as the alleged gunmen were Marcelo de la Cruz and Henry Caspe. Also
identified by the farmer-beneficiaries as carrying guns were Rey Mondia and a
confrontation also took place between Alipalo of the Visayas Daily
Courier/Cobra-ans and Yamamoto on one hand and Benedicto and her men after the
latter started harassing the Japanese photo-journalist, it was reported.
Benedicto men shoved Yamamoto and tried to grab his camera. When Alipalo
intervened saying they were journalists, one of Benedicto’s men hit him with
his knuckles in the back of his head.
RMG policemen intervened and brought Alipalo and Yamamoto to safety.
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has subjected 553 hectares of some 568
hectares of Hacienda Esperanza under land reform coverage, and identified 216
lands awarded to the NARB-MPC however were questioned by the Benedictos’
lawyer saying there are other members of the WAUP who are also assigned to lot
779. The hacienda owners also said that the land survey and the identification
of the beneficiaries are not yet over as the DAR ordered the cancellation of its
old CLOA, in preparation for a new one. Bulatlat.com / Cobra-Ans
by Archie Rey Alipalo
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