At around 4 a.m., Jan. 12, father and son Noel and Reynold Tumali and Arman Pardino were on their way to the farm when they were shot at by suspected security guards and goons of Leonardo-Lachenal Holdings, Inc. (LHI), FL Property Management Corp. (FL PMC).
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Three farmers were shot at by gunmen, Jan. 12 in Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga.
According to Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL), at around 4 a.m., father and son Noel and Reynold Tumali and Arman Pardino were on their way to the farm when they were shot at by suspected security guards and goons of Leonardo-Lachenal Holdings, Inc. (LHI), FL Property Management Corp. (FL PMC). The two companies, in partnership with Ayala Land Inc., plans to build a ‘Nuvali’-like residential area. Nuvali is an upscale residential subdivision in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, south of Manila. More than 350 farmers and 1,000 families stand to lose their livelihood if the project pushes through.
Local village officials who heard the gunshots responded and went to the scene but they were also fired at by the armed men.
The three were brought to Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga. Padino sustained gunshot wound in the head.
Mario Franco, chairman of local peasant group Aguman Dareng Maglalautang Capampangan (AMC) said in a statement, “These corporations have no interest but to kill us, threaten us or imprison us so they can grab our land.”
Four days before, on January 8, another farmer, Ener Angeles Tolentino, was arrested by two policemen and 12 security guards. Tolentino was gathering coal from his farm in Upper Balukbuk when he was barred by security guards.
Franco said that last year, some of their colleagues were subjected to various forms of harassment.
On December 11, 2013, Modesto Posadas was shot at by two men on board a motorcycle. On December 6, 2013, unidentified men threw a grenade at the house of Jessel Orgas in purok 5, Hacienda Dolores. On November 29, unidentified men also hit Orgas’s house with a burning arrow, setting on fire the wooden walls.
“For eight months, we have not been allowed to work in our farms; they even destroyed our crops. We are enraged because they deprived us of our right to livelihood and now we are experiencing poverty and hunger,’’ Franco said.
The AMGL recorded 26 other cases of destruction and divestment of properties, illegal arrest and detention of 13 farmers in November 2011 and July 2013 and other cases of harassment, threat and intimidation and coercion.
“We will not waver in fighting for our right to our land and livelihood,” Franco said.