Progressive groups staged a ‘Black Friday Protest’ last October 26 at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) calling for justice for the nine victims of the Sagay City massacre earlier this month.
A candle lightning ceremony was also held to pay tribute to the martyrs of the said massacre.
National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) chairperson Rolando Rillo said that the Rodrigo Duterte government and the military must held accountable for the said massacre.
The landlord Tolentino and Marañon family and their private army are behind the massacre based on the account of the survivors, Rillo added.
NFSW stressed that their land cultivation activities are efforts to alleviate the suffering of farm workers and their families through planting of food to eat especially during dry season.
NFSW said that sugar farm workers only receive a salary of about 300-400 pesos per week and 70 percent of the sugar land earlier awarded to land reform beneficiaries have been leased back to landlords due to the lack of support of the government.
Rillo also scored DAR secretary John Castrisciones for his irresponsible statements justifying the massacre “as self defense” and asked that the secretary be relieved from his post.
The group condemned the Philippine National Police for its attempt to arrest a minor to be used as a witness against the victims and his fellow massacre survivors. # (Video by Joseph Cuevas and Maricon Montajes)