Last January 6, days after New Year’s Day, peasants of Sitio Buntog in Hacienda Yulo, Calamba were yet again harassed and threatened by “paid goons” with high caliber guns, leaving two homes completely ransacked.
As the residents were still recovering from the initial attack, it only took three days after for reportedly 30 armed men, now with uzis and armalites, to return and destroy more homes. At around 2 PM today, two more homes were destroyed, and even more residents were harassed.
In fact, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Laguna reported that husband and wife Gregorio and Maria Garcia were reportedly beaten by the land-grabbers and one resident narrowly avoiding being shot three times by the men.
“Sobrang hayop ng ginawa nila. Diko [sic] po sure [k]ung meron [na nasugatan]. Muntik na mabaril kuya ko[. N]akatakbo lang,” netizen and Sitio Buntog resident Dhey Mangubat Garcia told the Perspective.
This was only the third reported attack on the area, as July 2020 saw the resumption of eviction attempts. The most recent was last August 2020 when armed guards set three houses of Hacienda Yulo farmers on fire just two days after they reportedly harassed residents on the 22nd of that month. The trouble started when the peasants stopped the alleged armed personnel of the Yulo family from entering their community, with leaked footage from the incident showing how the guards harassed and pointed their guns at the agitated residents.
Photos shown by BAYAN Laguna from the January 6 attack showed that the walls of the homes were nearly broken down, with the group adding that the armed men forced the residents to lie down and surrender, threatening them with forced eviction.
“Binasag ang mga bintana, giniba ang mga pader, at pinunit ang mga modyul ng mga mag-aaral,” BAYAN Laguna summarized the January 6 in one sentence.
Sitio Buntog resident Mario Mangubat recalled in a phone interview with Bulatlat how the allegedly hired demolition crew began their assault at around 3 PM.
“My wife was pleading with them, but they didn’t care. What they did was heartless. They destroyed the walls, the table, everything; not even the toilet bowl was spared.” Mangubat said, adding that after the destruction of their properties, the goons told the farmers that they will “tear down the roofs next time.”
Sitio Buntog, a part of the estimated 7,100-hectare Hacienda Yulo sugar estate has been caught in a crossfire between land-grabbing companies. The land is located at Brgy. Canlubang, Laguna, and covers portions of cities in Laguna including Cabuyao, Sta. Rosa, and Calamba Since 1911, residents have been asserting their rights to their ancestral lands in the face of several private corporations eyeing their homes for their personal projects.
BAYAN Laguna said that the Ayala Land Corporation sought to seize a 200-hectare area of the area, alongside its neighboring sites to build a subdivision. They added that the Yulo-owned San Cristobal Realty Development Corporation (SCRDC) allegedly aided in harassing the denizens.
“1911 pa lamang ay nandyan na ang mga magsasaka. Sila ang naglinang at bumuhay sa lupa. Sila ang may karapatan na manirahan sa lupang sakahan!” BAYAN Laguna exclaimed. [P]
Photo from BAYAN Laguna / Facebook