This week saw nationwide protests staged in celebration of Peasants’ Month, with progressives recalling the tragedy that was the Sagay 9 massacre. The incident left six farmers (two of whom are minors) killed at Hacienda Nene in Purok Pine Tree, Brgy. Bulanon, Sagay City, Negros Occidental last October 20, 2018.
Even then, farmers have still continued to suffer harassment from state forces this week, with some of them even arrested (READ: Amidst attacks, farmers, fishers unite for Peasant Month).
Here are the human rights violations reported for this week:
October 17 – Binangonan, Rizal
Seven Philippine National Police (PNP) Tuguegarao personnel wearing civilian clothing arrested farmer Cristina Magistrado in her home at Binangonan City, Rizal, last October 17, Gabriela Youth Laguna says. Magistrado was a former organizer of the AMIHAN-Cagayan women’s peasant formation.
October 18 – Naga City, Camarines Sur
Anakbayan Jovenes Spokesperson and Anakbayan Naga City Chairperson Maria Jesusa “Sasah” Sta. Rosa who was detained for alleged illegal possession of firearms on May 2 has now been released, Kabataan Partylist says.
According to her camp, the guns, ammunition, grenades, and other weapons found were planted only by the police and military. Furthermore, the address stated on the search warrant was different from her actual location.
October 18 [date reported] – Placer, Masbate
69-year old peasant leader Chito Mendoza Huliganga was arrested last September 25 in Brgy. Nainday, Placer, Masbate, human rights group Karapatan says.
Huliganga called his relatives last September 28 to inform them of his arrest. According to him, state forces forcibly entered the house where he was staying. He was beaten up, asked for his identity, and then taken to a military camp. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Besides old age, Huliganga suffers from severe diabetes. He has not been seen or visited by any of his relatives, by a lawyer, paralegal or even a doctor of his choice.
Hulingaga’s relatives now fear for their own safety and security, as they were told that the military also wants them to “surrender”.
October 21 – Brgy. Macabud, Rodriguez, Rizal
11 homes of farmers in Rodriguez, Rizal, were illegally demolished by Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Guards last October 21, peasant group Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) says.
According to farmers in Sitio Sedleeng, Star-E Agency, and Catalina Security Agency have also threatened to return and demolish 25 more homes of the farmers.
“Sagad – sagarang pambabastos ang ginawa nilang demolisyon sa mismong araw pa na ginugunita natin ang Araw ng Uring Magsasaka. Walang awa ang MWSS na hindi kinunsidera ang pandemya. Dagdag dito, wala ding ipinakitang kahit na anong papel at walang isinagawang Konsultasyon ang MWSS bago isagawa ito,” KASAMA-TK chairman Jerry Luna said.
[“The demolitions that took place on Peasants’ Day are nothing short of disrespectful. MWSS showed no mercy that they did not consider the current pandemic situation. Also, they did not show any paperwork and MWSS did not consult with us before pushing through with it”]
October 22 – Maysapang, Taguig City
Private entities R-II Builders, MGS Consortium, and Jericko Security Services forcibly entered the community of Brgy. Ususan, Maysapang, Taguig City at midnight of October 22, Anakbayan says.
According to the residents’ organization Nagkakaisang Residente ng Maysapang HOAI, heavy equipment was brought into the community on the orders of the private entities. However, the OIC Guard and safety officer guiding the heavy equipment could not present any permits when they were asked to do so by the residents.
October 23 – Lipa City, Batangas
After participating in various community projects including tree planting and mental health activities in Lipa City, Batangas last October 23, a youth group was told to sign forms for “Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo” (KKDAT), a PNP project, Anakbayan Lipa says.
The group said that they also received money for the projects that they accomplished. However, they were then suddenly told to sign forms that pledge support for programs headed by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
October 23 – Bacoor, Cavite
Urban poor group Bagong Silangan says that goons reportedly of Amy Gawaran, as well as guards of TSD Construction, attempted to enter and fence residential areas along Aguinaldo Highway, which were said to have eventually caused vendors to be displaced.
Bagong Silangan added that the forced entry and fencing of the goons happen despite the lack of an official court ruling that would set off the demolition.
The vendors have recently appealed to the court to prohibit the demolition, given that they have resided in the said area for a long time.
Gawaran, allegedly a representative of JSGHM 88888, was previously reported twice in 2020 for being involved in various cases of harassment against Sitio Silangan residents.
(RELATED STORIES: Sitio Silangan urban poor greeted with gunshots on ML anniversary; Harassment of Sitio Silangan residents by land-grabbers continue)
October 23 – Puerto Princesa, Palawan
The Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court Branch 51 denied Antonio Molina’s omnibus motion for release on recognizance of humanitarian grounds last October 15, saying that it is not a ground for bail, Bulatlat reports.
Molina, a 66-year-old bedridden farmer suffering from stomach cancer, is a member of KASAMA-TK.
He was arrested on Oct. 4, 2019 in Puerto Princesa, Palawan together with human rights defender Glendhyl Malabanan and five others. They were detained and charged with the trumped-up case of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and murder (READ: Political prisoner Antonio Molina in critical medical condition; progressives call for immediate release). [P]
Human Rights Watch is a weekly collation of human rights news stories gathered from different sources by UPLB Perspective. This initiative was launched in response to the sweeping number of human rights violations (HRVs) among various sectors across the country.