Dasmariñas LGU remains hands-off in the situation, farmers say.
The farmers of Lupang Kapdula in Dasmariñas, Cavite once more found their homes and forms of livelihood threatened after alleged armed guards belonging to the Sta. Lucia Realty & Development, Inc. fenced their lands and ruined their crops. This was according to the peasant alliance Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK), who renewed calls to give the lands of Lupang Kapdula to the farmers.
“Nakakagalit na sa kabila ng ganitong iligalidad at harassment ay nananatiling nagtatago at walang aksyon ang Lokal na pamahalaan,” KASAMA-TK said in a Facebook statement.
In an earlier update, fellow peasant alliance Samahang Magbubukid ng Kapdula (SAMAKA) mentioned that personnel allegedly from both Sta. Lucia and South Cavite Land Company, Inc. (SCLCI) dug up the farmers’ produce and barred them from accessing an unnamed road that connects farms to the market road of Lupang Kapdula. Without any fencing permit, any proof that the companies owned the 30-hectare area, nor a “final and executory decision” from the Land Use Cases Committee (LUCC) regarding the case for the land, SAMAKA decried this move as “illegal.”
A letter addressed to SAMAKA president Alberto delos Reyes from Land Use Cases Division (LUCD) Chief Atty. Jan Karlo Magracia, dated May 10, 2021, showed that the case was indeed being discussed by LUCD.
SAMAKA Vice President Fely Galleno narrated that guards reportedly led by Alvin Samonte (initially reported as Alvin “Santos”), as well as Office-in-Charge (OIC) Dominador Viray openly threatened the farmers with guns while the latter attempted to intervene peacefully.
Both Samonte and Viray were said to be working for the Enrile clan-owned JAKA Investment Corporation (another company frequently tagged with Sta. Lucia and SCLCI in various cases related to the area), with Samonte being described as the one holding the “highest position” within JAKA’s security.
“Pero hindi naman po kami lumalaban sa kanila, pinipigilan lang namin sila na huwag nilang kuhain yung aming gamit sa pinaka-silungan namin kasi kinuha nila nang kinuha para hindi kami makapagtayo ng tolda. Yung bakod na may taniman doon, tinanggal at sinira rin nila,” Galleno told the Perspective via phone call.
Despite engaging in a dialogue with the local barangay, the farmers were only advised to file a case, with the barangay only being limited to “support.”
An unreachable hand
For years, Lupang Kapdula has been the center of a violent tug-of-war between farmers and the three aforementioned companies. This was after farmers were deceived into signing an “agreement” with SCLCI back in 1991 that left 30 of all their hectares unfit for cultivation. Some lands were then listed under the ownership of JAKA following this “deal.”
Despite landing a victory in securing 155 hectares of land by order of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in October 2019, farmers still feared for their safety amidst several harassment cases.
Following recent developments, Kapdula farmers requested for a dialogue with Dasmariñas Mayor Jenny Barzaga. Around February, they already sought a meeting with the Mayor, but in their five months of waiting, they were only advised to pass the case along to Congress. When they followed-up on their appeals, SAMAKA leaders faced hostility from Barzaga’s staff, who reportedly shouted at them.
“Dahil dito ay hindi mawawala sa isipan ng mga magsasaka na may itinatago ang opisina ni Mayora kaya ayaw humarap sa kanila. Hindi ganito ang pinangako ni Jenny Barzaga sa mga mamamayan ng Dasmariñas nang siya ay tumakbo […] wala nang maniniwala sa kaniyang mga kasinungalingan sa darating na eleksyon,” KASAMA-TK expressed.
KASAMA-TK then alleged that Barzaga may have some involvement in the scheme of JAKA and South Cavite Land.
In concluding his interview, Galleno called officials to aid in defending the ownership of the farmers’ lands and for farmers to have their own road to pass after JAKA’s claimed and restrictive “ownership.”
“Nasa kanila na ‘yung lupa. Yun din po ang pinapanawagan namin na mapunta sa amin ang just compensation dahil sa amin naman po talaga yun, sa mga magsasaka. Eh wala naman po kaming nagawa, hanggang sa hindi na po namin makuha kasi hindi na po kami makakuha nang abogado na walang bayad,” Gallero concluded.
As of press time, the Perspective is still reaching-out to JAKA, SCLCI, and Sta. Lucia for their respective sides on the allegations. [P]
Photo from SAMAKA / Facebook