Farmers group to Bongbong Marcos: ‘Kausapin mo ang bayaw mo!’
Armed security personnel employed by the powerful Araneta family fired guns at a group of farmers and supporters conducting a fact-finding mission in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan on Friday morning.
In a statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said several guards armed with high-powered rifles fired at a team of eight paralegals and 20 farmers conducting an investigation on the reported illegal demolition of four houses last January 26.
The group reportedly included seven minors.
The shooting lasted for at least 10 minutes, injuring two, KMP said.
The KMP added that mobile phones, bags, wallets as well as relief goods were forcibly taken by the guards from the victims.
The January 26 demolition was the third within a year, following similar incidents in 2021.
Araneta’s guards have also closed farm roads in the area, further constricting the farmers’ livelihood, the KMP said.
Araneta Properties, Inc., a company owned by Gregorio Araneta III and brother-in-law to presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., has been evicting farmers in Barangay Tungkong Mangga since 2013.
The site is being earmarked for the construction of a train station, a train depot and residential and commercial establishments similar to the family’s sprawling Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.
The area however has been farmed and planted with many fruit and vegetable crops for at least three decades by hundreds peasant families who are land reform beneficiaries of the government.
“Grabeng kahayupan ng mga Araneta. Wala silang kinikilalang batas, puro pandarahas!” KMP national chairperson Danilo Ramos said. (The Aranetas are very cruel. They do not respect laws; they only know violence.)
“We challenge 2022 candidates who have constantly pronounced themselves as pro-farmers to speak and act. Especially Marcos Jr. – kausapin mo ang bayaw mo (Talk to your brother-in-law)!” Ramos added.
The Unyon ng mga Mangggawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), a group along with the KMP and its provincial chapter Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan that was conducting the fact-finding mission, called on local government officials to intervene.
“Tinatawagan namin ang atensyon ng lokal na pamahalaan at pulisya ng CSJDM na aksyunan ang kaganapang ito dahil ito ay lantarang paglabag sa [Commission on Elections] gun ban,” UMA said. (We call the attention of the local government and the police to take action on this incident because this is a brazen violation of COMELEC’s gun ban.) # (Raymund B. Villanueva)