Goons harass farmers’ campout, youth supporters panic

Armed goons harassed a farmers’ campout at Lupang Ramos in Dasmariñas City, Cavite Monday night, causing panic among youth supporters staying for the night, a progressive lawmaker announced.

In an urgent alert, Kabataan Party Representative Sarah Elago said private armed goons fired gun shots in the dead of night, causing University of the Philippines medical students and other youth supporters belonging to Kabataan Southern Tagalog chapter diving onto the ground for fear of being hit.

“[N]akadapa ang lahat kasama ang mga volunteer UP Med students at members ng Kabataan mula Southern Tagalog chapter,” part of Elago’s alert said.

Farmers belonging to the Katipunan ng Lehitimong Magsasaka at Mamamayan sa Lupang Ramos (KASAMA-LR) later reported they heard seven gunshots fired at their direction at around 11 p.m.

The farmers and their supporters are encamped at Barangay Langkaan 1 to defend a 370-hectare land called Lupang Ramos from alleged land-grabbers Nelson Pangilinan and Rudy Herrera.

Condemning the incident, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said Pangilinan and Herrera’s group have been continuously harassing the farmers.

Tension escalated last weekend when Pangilinan’s group physically assaulted KASAMA-LR members, injuring one Rosalinda Tapawan Atienza, 62 years old, KMP said.

Lupang Ramos is reportedly being eyed for procurement and development by Ayala Land Inc. with Pangilinan’s group acting as real estate agents, KMP said.

The Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid-Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) for its part said the farmers’ have started collective land cultivation last year.

The farmers are already benefiting from their collective production work months before Pangilinan arrived and started harassing farmers and claiming the land, the group said.

Lupang Ramos in Dasmariñas City, Cavite. (KMP photo)

Around 50-hectares are already planted with root crops, banana trees and vegetables. KASAMA-LR farmers are also planning to plant corn in the farmland, KASAMA-TK said.

Just yesterday, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Region IV-Provincial Agrarian Reform Office held a dialogue with KASAMA-LR farmers, KMP said.

DAR officials were only able to promise that they would tell off Pangilinan and his group, the group added.

KASAMA-TK said Monday night’s incident was duly reported to the Dasmarinas City police but were told by the police officers on duty they are “afraid and they do not want to get involved in the land dispute.”

The KMP said it will send a Quick Reaction Team to Dasmariñas to assist the beleaguered Lupang Ramos farmers. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)