Cagayan police abducts farmer; AFP harasses peasants opposing rubber plantation

CAGAYAN peasant group Kagimungan condemned the abduction of farmer leader Sofronio Pascua last July 17 in Tuguegarao City.

Pascua was arrested by four men in civilian clothing he suspected were police officer at one o’clock in the afternoon Monday.

“They trained a gun at me while ordering me to raise my hands. They forcibly took my phone and money away. They did not give me back my money,” Pascua said.

He later told Kagimungan members he was forced to lie face down inside a police vehicle and was beaten before being taken to a building in a secluded place.

While inside the vehicle, his abductors also took away his bag containing important documents and other personal property, Pascua said.

He said there were police officers in uniform around the safe house where he was taken and interrogated for about an hour.

Pascua was released after an hour without explanation without charges.

The victim is a resident of Barangay Banguian, Abulug, Cagayan where he is the local Anakpawis chapter leader. He is active in their group’s campaign for land distribution to poor farmers, Kagimungan said.

“This is clearly a human rights violation that shows the real face of the Duterte regime’s all-out war. The regime targets civilians, especially members of progressive and patriotic organizations,” Kagimungan’s Roderick Deric said.

Greening program as landgrabbing

Meanwhile, the peasant group also complained of ongoing military surveillance and harassments against farmers opposed to the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) projects in Baggao, Cagayan.

The group said elements of the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army conducted surveillance operations in Sitio Kagurungan, Baranggay Awallan at Sitio Reggaay, Barangay Hacienda Intal last July 15 to intimidate six farmer leaders opposing the NGP.

The farmers are opposing the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) plans to plant rubber trees under the NGP.

“This is simply land-grabbing as the lands they have identified have already been cultivated by the residents for generations,” Kagimungan-Baggao spokesperson Pacencia Mercado said.

The DENR and the local government unit have earlier held a consultation in Sitio Reggaay and promised the residents scholarships for students and medical assistance to farmers in exchange for the use of their lands.

“But the project could only mean the permanent loss of livelihood of the farmers,” Mercado said.

Kagimungan said they also received information that a military camp would soon be built in Sitio Reggaay because of the farmers’ ongoing campaign for land and opposition to the establishment of a rubber tree plantation.

“We have won over many other anti-farmer projects in the past. We are confident we will defeat these new schemes again,” Mercado added. # (Deo Montesclaros and Patricia Anne Lactao Guerrero)




Peasants hold solidarity night for land reform

Thousands of farmers from all over the Philippines traveled to Metro Manila to participate in multi-sectoral activities marking the first 100 days of the Rodrigo Duterte government.

They held a solidarity night at the Department of Agrarian Reform multi-purpose gym Friday night (October 7) to underscore their continuing struggle for genuine agrarian reform.

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OPINION: Stop the peace saboteurs!

THEY are killing farmers again.

Just a few days after the killing of four farmers in Fort Magsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija on September 3, peasant leader Ariel Diaz was gunned down last Thursday, September 7 in Villa Pereda, Delfin Albano, Isabela.

These incidents occurred at a time when the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philuippines peace talks resumed with renewed commitment and vigor. Topping the agenda are fundamental socio-economic reforms including genuine land reform directly affecting 75 million Filipinos out of the present population of about 100 million.
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Peasants demand justice for victims of Fort Magsaysay massacre

PEASANT groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Alyansang Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) and human rights organization Karapatan condemned the killing of four peasants inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) in Barangay San Isidro, Laur, Nueva Ecija last September 3.

According to KMP, the farmers were taking part in a land cultivation activity inside the reservation Saturday morning when a helicopter landed and delivered rifles near their area.

For more details, visit this news report. Read more

CONTRIBUTED VIDEO: Fort Magsaysay massacre survivor tells story

FOUR farmers were killed when armed men in camouflaged uniforms and bonnets swooped down at farmers cultivating land inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) in Bgy. San Isidro, Laur, Nueva Ecija midday of September 1, 2016.

Killed were Elejo Barbado, Emerencia dela Rosa, Violeta “Baby” Mercado and Gaudencio Bagalay.

In a condemnation rally in Quezon City last September 6, survivor Helen Madayag recounted the shooting .

FMMR is the biggest military base in the Philippines and among the five base locations offered to the United States military under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Perpetrators of the massacre remain at large.

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Kidapawan victim’s dad charges ‘witness’ for perjury

EBAO SULANG, father of Kidapawan shooting victim Darwin Sulang, filed perjury charges against Senate witness Charlie “Longhair” Pasco at the Department of Justice yesterday.

Pasco testified before Senate investigative committee hearings last April that the younger Sulang was carrying a gun when he was gunned down during a violent dispersal of protesting farmers last April 1. Read more

Land grabbing endangers PH agri productivity–experts

FOOD security activists challenged the Rodrigo Duterte government to end land grabbing activities against farmers and indigenous peoples in a conference last August 1 at Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines-Diliman.

The Philippine Network of Security Food Programmes, Inc. (PNSFP) presented cases of land grabbing throughout the country, as well as their campaigns and mass actions.

Agricultural land in the Philippines decreased by 2.785 million hectares from 5.4 million from 2002 to 2012 due to land grabbing and the subsequent conversion of agricultural lands for other uses, such as mining and Special Economic Zones,  PNSFP advocacy officer Sharlene Lopez said.

She added that the Philippines’ agricultural productivity, rural communities and environment are increasingly at risk if land grabbing continues.

According to PNFSP studies, many land grabbing victims were deceived by the promise of fortune into planting cash crops like rubber or oil palm.

Others were forcibly displaced by militarization or “projects” by either the local government or big businesses.

Many also end up having no choice but to work at cash crop plantations for less than the minimum wage.

A panel of government reactors from the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, the National Anti-Poverty Commission transition team, the Office of the Secretary of Agrarian Reform, the House of Representatives (HOR) Committee on Food Security and HOR Committee on Agrarian Reform said their respective departments would try their best to return the farmlands and ancestral domains to the people.

Despite their assurances, however, Niklas Reese of the Philippine Bureau-Germany encouraged the participants to continue their advocacy against land grabbing.

“We have to be aware that the change of administration doesn’t change the nature of capitalism. We have to be vigilant; we have to be aware,” he said.

Reese added that the government should also to prosecute land grabbers.

“The role of social movements like this one is not just for demanding change, but accountability from the government as well,” Resse said. # (By Abril Layad B. Ayroso)


Samak: Ang buhay ng nakikisaka

SA isang bansang ang karamihan ay maralitang magbubukid, marami ang palipat-lipat ng sakahan upang makisaka. Wala silang sariling lupa. Ang kanilang pangunahing puhunan ay ang kanilang lakas-paggawa, nagbabakasakali ng magandang ani. Tumatanggap lamang sila ng 10 hanggang 15 porsyentong bahagi ng ani. Sa maraming pagkakataong wala silang ani dahil sa kalamidad, patuloy pa rin silang nagbubungkal at umaasa.

Alamin ang buhay ng mga Samak, ang mga nakikisakang magbubukid. (Maigsing bidyo-dokumentaryo ni Amel Sabangan)

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Peasant leader Mariano becomes agrarian reform secretary

FORMER Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chairperson Rafael Mariano formally became the Rodrigo Duterte government’s agrarian reform secretary at the turn over ceremony at the department’s central office yesterday.

In his speech, “Ka Paeng” said his administration’s central program would be the free distribution of land to farmers.

He also said his office would be open to all farmers. Read more