Nine farmers, including two minors and four women, were massacred in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last night, Saturday.
In a flash report posted this morning, Aksyon Radyo Bacolod said nine were killed in a strafing incident at Hacienda Nene, Purok Fire Tree, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City.
The victims were National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) members who were staying in a hut at the place of the incident.
Four others survived the attack, NFSW said.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) in an urgent alert said the victims were engaged in a Land Cultivation Area (bungkalan) activity.
Sagay chief of police, Chief Inspector Robert Mansueto, said the killings happened around 9:30 p.m.
He added that some of the victims were from different villages while the rest were from Bulanon but not from the hamlet where the plantation is located.
NFSW immediately accused “goons,” a euphemism for private security personnel, and members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army, an armed band that had broken away from the communist New People’s Army for the incident in Hacienda Nene, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City, close to 90 kilometers from here.
Sagay Mayor Alfredo Maranon III, son of Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Maranon Jr., expressed “shock” and condemned the killings “in the strongest possible terms” as he ordered police to “do everything possible to bring justice to the nine families that lost loved ones” and promised to extend all possible assistance to the victims’ kin.
NFSW officer Danilo Tabora confirmed that some 75 members of the union had occupied the land Saturday morning, a day after the harvest on the sugarcane plantation, as part of a “bungkalan” campaign to till lands covered by the government’s agrarian reform program.
Mayor Maranon confirmed that the land was under a “notice of coverage” from the Department of Agrarian Reform but explained that this meant this was still an early stage in the process of distributing the land to beneficiaries.
Sagay police named the victims as:
• Eglicerio Villegas, 36 – Bulanon
• Angelipe Arsenal – Bulanon
• Alias Pater – Barangay Plaridel
• Dodong Laurencio – Plaridel
• Morena Mendoza (female) – Bulanon
• Neknek Dumaguit, female
• Bingbing Bantigue – Plaridel
• Joemarie Ughayon Jr., 17 – Barangay Rafaela Barrera
• Marchtel Sumicad, 17 – Bulanon
According to sources, Hacienda Nene is owned by a certain Atty. Barbara Tolentino and is leased by Bacolod City-based Conpinco Trading.
Reporting from the funeral parlor where the victims had been taken, radio station dyHB said most of them bore headshots and at least three of the bodies were burned.
“We hold the military and the [Rodrigo] Duterte government responsible for said incident,” KMP and UMA said in its alert.
Other sources from the KMP said that they have been other killings at Hacienda Nene prior to the incident.
In December 21, 2017, NFSW-Sagay City chairperson Flora A. Jemola died from 13 stab wounds inflicted by suspected Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) forces under the 12th IB of the Philippine Army.
Last February 21, Ronald Manlanat, a member of a local chapter of NFSW in Hacienda Joefred, Barangay General Luna, Sagay City, was killed by suspected CAFGU members who emptied an entire M16 magazine onto his head.
The NFSW told Kodao that a fact-finding mission is being held at the moment.
The massacre happened as farmers’ groups led by the KMP are commemorating Peasant Month this October in a series of nationally-coordinated activities dubbed October Resistance. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)