Farmers’ homes were demolished in Orion, Bataan by a combined forced of about 200 police officers and a 100-member demolition team in Sitio Bangad, Orion, Bataan last Thursday, January 14, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reported.
The KMP said former Government Service Insurance Corporation president Federico Pascual ordered the demolition of houses owned by 42 families to give way to a lucrative residential project with Sta. Lucia Realty.
Police officers in full battle gear assisted the demolition team, KMP-supplied photos show.
“The ongoing demolition is the latest in a series of displacement of farmers and residents in the area. In February 2020, the collective resistance of farmers has succeeded in preventing the attempts of Pascual’s men to demolish and displace the farmers and their families,” the KMP said.
Last March 23, 2020, at the height of the coronavirus lockdown and quarantine in Luzon, Pascual ordered the fencing of the disputed land and displaced the farmers from the 33-hectare landholding, KMP said.
The farmer-families said they have been tilling the land with palay, vegetables, and fruit-bearing trees for over two decades as part of the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Zaldy Montemayor, leader of local farmers group Samahan ng mga Magbubukid sa Sitio Bangad, said Pascual had been manoeuvring to have the farmers exempted from CARP but the businessperson could not present proper documents issued by the Land Registration Authority.
Aside from being a former GSIS president, Pascual is also the President of the Bataan Peninsula State University, a member of the Bureau of Customs Governing Council, chairperson of the San Antonio Resources Inc, and a shareholder Sinagtala Farm Resort and Retreat Park located in Bataan.
Pascual also owns shares in several other companies, and formerly held corporate leadership posts at the Philippine National Bank, Allied Banking Corp., and Alabang Country Club as well as a director of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
The KMP said Pascual is using his wealth and influence in his actions against the farmers of Sitio Bangad.
The group said the Bataan incident followed the destruction of houses and attacks on farmers at Hacienda Yulo in Calamba City.
Terror at Hacienda Yulo
In Laguna, armed guns and goons of the Yulo-owned San Cristobal Realty demolished two houses while they trained high-powered guns on terrified residents, the KMP reported
Last January 9, the group said goons also attacked a certain Jojo De Leon while ransacking and destroying several houses.
The perpetrators also fired their guns that injured four farmers, the group added.
The Hacienda Yulo incidents were the latest in an ongoing harassment campaign against the farmers that started in July 2020, the KMP said.
“These include the fencing off of farm lots, destruction of crops and burning of houses of the farmers,” KMP said.
WATCH: Terror at Hacienda Yulo
As in Bataan, the Yulo family is trying to drive away farmers to pave the way for a deal between San Cristobal Realty and Ayala Land, Inc., the group said.
“The farmers had been tilling the land since 1911. It was them who developed the land and they have all the right to continue farming and living in it,” KMP added.
Yesterday, KMP also reported that farmers in Norzagaray, Bulacan were charged with theft for harvesting their own coconut and banana crops by another private company, Royal Mollucan Realty Holding Inc.
“Just how heartless the land grabbing families of Villar, Yulo, Ayala, Pascuals, can be? A pandemic, widespread joblessness and bankruptcy, and successive typhoons have already ravaged the lives of poor farmers, and yet these landed haciendero-oligarchs continue to violently eject our food security frontliners,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)