Farmers accuse Aranetas of grabbing farms and home lots in Bulacan
A farmers’s group accused a bank of fencing off land in Sitio San Isidro in Barangay Tungkong Mangga in San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan, adding the bank is acting in behalf of the “landgrabbing” Araneta family.
The Samahan at Sandigan ng mga Magsasaka sa San Isidro-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Sasamag-KMP) said the Manila Banking Corp. ordered the fencing off of lots and started constructing one-meter high posts surrounding the perimeter of Blocks 9, 10, 11,12 and 13B in Sitio Isidro.
Sasamag-KMP said surveyors and engineers from AB Surveying and Development Corp. arrived last August 29 and claimed the farm lots planted with vegetables, root crops and food crops where houses are also located.
The surveyors misled barangay officials and presented a letter that said they would only conduct a “survey of the area,” the group said.
“The farmers were surprised to see heavy equipment and construction materials such as hollow blocks, steel and cement bags being hauled near their farms. The fencing and construction activities have instantly sent the farmers into a panic,” Sasamag-KMP said,
The group also said that soldiers of the 48th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army encamped nearby only looked on as farmers tried to stop the surveying company from fencing off farms and home lots .
“The soldiers are not in our community to protect the people. They are here to protect the interests of land grabbers and private companies with businesses in San Jose Del Monte City,” Eriberto Peña of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan said in a statement.
Peña said the soldiers have been encamping near the
community’s barangays hall since 2018 and conducting surveillance activities
masked as “Community Support Program Operations.”
The farmers said Barangay Tungkong Mangga in SJDM is the targeted location of the intermodal depot and last station of the multibillion MRT-7—a big-ticket construction project supported by the Rodrigo Duterte administration.
The MRT-7 and commercial components will cut through 103.48 hectares of the farming communities of Sitio San Isidro and Sitio Ricafort in Tungkong Mangga. More than a thousand farmers and their families will be affected by the project, the KMP said.
Large real estate companies have already put up subdivisions and township projects in San Jose Del Monte City in anticipation of the completion of the MRT-7 project.
In addition to the Araneta group, Ayala Land Inc. has also expanded its Php7-billion Altaraza Town Center project to include Amaia Altaraza Steps, a medium-rise condominium project.
Colinas Verdes Residential Estates and Country Club, a joint-venture partnership with Sta. Lucia Real Estate and Development, already covers 261 hectares of land in Tungkong Mangga, KMP added.
The group said the Araneta family covets a total of 3,500 hectares of land in San Jose Del Monte City that includes portions of the nearby Pangarap village in Caloocan City-North.
“These real estate projects are affecting the farmers in the sub-village of San Isidro in Tungkong Mangga. There are frequent instances wherein crops planted by farmers are being bulldozed by surveying companies and private security guards employed by real estate companies. The security personnel also prohibit farmers from planting and harvesting their crops,” KMP leader Danilo Ramos said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)