Aquino’s last days marred with landgrabbing and attacks vs farmers

May 1, 2016

KMP condemns the violent dispersal and illegal arrest of farmers in Isabela


Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) peasant human rights desk Tanggol Magsasaka strongly condemned the violent dispersal and illegal arrest and detention of farmers in the village of Mambabanga, Luna, Isabela. The unlimited attacks and human rights violations against farmers have been the Aquino government’s legacy.

The barricade of a hundred farmers asserting their right to land has been violently dispersed last April 26 at past 5 in the afternoon. More than 10 were injured and 4 were illegally arrested according to reports from KMP local chapter Danggayan Cagayan valley. Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon ti Isabela (DAGAMI-KMP) members Marlon Matusalem, Renato Gameng, Rogelio Gameng, and Dennis Gameng were charged with malicious mischief and trespassing but were eventually released from detention.

The identified perpetrators are the private army of Luna Mayor Manuel Tio and more than 20 police personnel led by Luna police chief Sr. Insp. Mario Fajardo. According to sworn statements of the farmer victims, not only were they attacked, money and personal effects were stolen by the goons and the police. “We were manhandled, handcuffed and shoved to the ground as cops stomp at us,” Matusalem recounts.

“The outright fascism against farmers and the criminalization of our assertion to our right to land have been the systematic response of Aquino’s regime in his 6-year reign,” says KMP secretary-general Antonio Flores.

The camp out of farmers led by DAGAMI-KMP militantly occupied the land being claimed by landgrabber Mayor Manuel Tio. The land in dispute measures 10.7 hectare located in Barangay Mambabanga. The family of Irenio Tamayo have cultivated the land since 1970s and was covered by the Operation Land transfer. Tamayo and other farmers, even with an emancipation patent, is now being forcibly evicted. Presidential decree 27 and the now expired Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) have been instrumental in the anomalous claim of Tio to the land. Deeds of Absolute Sale has been Mayor Tio’s claim to the land while the local office of the Department of Agrarian Reform kept mum and inept in handling the land dispute.

KMP reports that landlessness have worsened across the country as 9 out of 10 Filipino farmers have no land of their own to till.

“Under the Haciendero government, farmers have been victims of displacement and landgrabbing twinned by state forces serving the interests of landlords. The hands of the Philippine National Police and Aquino has been drenched with peasants’ blood–the Kidapawan carnage, the killings of Lumad-farmers and the continuing Oplan Bayanihan, murdering and wreaking havoc in rural communities. Farmers do not forget and Aquino will pay the price,” says the KMP leader.

From July 2010 to March 2016, human rights group Karapatan has recorded a total of 519,177 number of victims mostly in rural areas. Tanggol Magsasaka have accounted more than 200 extra judicial killings of peasants and indigenous peoples and more than 700 cases of incarceration on fabricated charges under Aquino’s Daang Matuwid.

Danggayan Cagayan Valley together with DAGAMI-KMP farmer victims will file complaints on Monday May 2, 2016 as farmers continue to assert their right to land. ###