Groups Condemn Attempted Demolition on Farmers in Pangasinan, Blame CARPER’s Futility

May 28, 2010

After an attempted dispersal of farmers’ barricade against illegal cutting of coconut trees in Hacienda Yulo, Calamba, Laguna last May 21, farmers are again victims of attempted demolition in Sta. Barbara town, Pangasinan perpetrated by landlord Humberto Solis. About 50 farmer families are members of Anakpawis Partylist and are cultivating the 11-hectare lands for 30 years and holders of Certificate of Land Transfer under Marcos’ sham land reform program PD 27.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Tanggol Magsasaka (Peasant Network for Land, Justice and Human Rights) stongly condemned the attempted demolition which they view as caused by the uselessness of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with `Reforms’ or CARPer. The groups said that CARPer is now being used by landlords to displace farmers as its provisions are totally serving their interests and not those of the farmers. This is the 2nd report of demolition after the elections reaching the groups’ national office, following the Hacienda Yulo incident on May 21.

Last May 25, about 9 o’ clock in the morning, a demolition team Sta. Barbara, composed of elements of the Sta. Barabara Philippine National Police (PNP) arrived in Bgy. Tebag West and was led by Augusto Solis, a relative of Humberto. The police attempted to demolish the farmers’ houses but the latter resisted, thus, many were wounded and about 5 farmers were arrested. Arrested were Jordan Quinto, Eman Caboses, Jimmy Diamante, Jesus Nogales, Jupiter Salceda and charged with grave threat.

As the farmers continue to protest the illegal arrests and detention, supporters from the church and academe come to aid and negotiated the release of 5 farmers by evening. However, another farmer was arrested the following day. Another attempt was carried out yesterday, but the peasants’ ranks have been fortified and the demolition was thwarted. Now the farmers are ceaselessly organizing and preparing themselves for another violent attempt to demolish their houses. They are also in coordination with KMP, Tanggol Magsasaka and human rights groups.

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“We are now closely coordinating with the peasant leaders at the area and we are planning fact-finding and solidarity mission at the area. The moment we get the data, we are to file these at human rights body such as Commission on Human Rights (CHR) just what we have done with the Hacienda Yulo incident. As this is a clear violation against the economic rights of the farmers, we are also considering this to be filed at the Joint Monitoring Committee on the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and Government of the Republic of the Philippines (NDFP – GRP) peace panels,” said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson and Tanggol Magsasaka Co-convenor.

The groups said that last year, May 22, our camp-out at the House of Representatives were violently dispersed by elements of the PNP, firetrucks were used at us, though we were only protesting against CARPer. Then a year after, May 21, farmers’ barricade in Hacienda Yulo, Calamba, Laguna were nearly demolished, then this on May 25. The first-year of CARPer is near and landlords are already exploiting and using it against the farmers.

“Thus, we anticipate more of this to happen like we said during the campaign. It would surely worsen as Sen. Benigno `Noynoy’ Aquino is the apparent-president as he represents the Cojuangco-Aquino landlord interests. We are calling for support from different sectors for the farmers in Sta. Barbara who are the legitimate owners of the land, let us support their struggle for genuine land reform and against CARPer,” called Flores.

REFERENCE: Roy Morilla, Public Information Officer

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